Relay for Life kickoff set in south Lake County
By Sue Ellen Ross Post-Tribune correspondent February 1, 2013 2:58PM
Tributes line paths throughout the Lake County Fairgrounds in Crown Point, Ind., during the Relay for Life on June 8, 2012. | File Photo by Scott R. Brandush~For Sun-Times Media
IF YOU GO
◆ Kickoff Event for 2013 Relay
for Life of South Lake County
◆ 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb.
6, First United Methodist
Church, 352 S. Main St.,
◆ This year’s Relay for Life of
South Lake County takes
place June 7 and 8 at the Lake
County Fairgrounds. Opening
ceremony begins at 6 p.m.
◆ For more information:
Updated: March 5, 2013 6:13AM
Statistics for the Relay for Life of South Lake County are impressive.
The group has been around for 15 years as one of many local affiliates for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. South Lake County’s contingent attracts a large number of volunteers and is ranked eighth among more than 170 relays statewide.
“This year, we are hoping to make the top five; our relay is one of the best in the state,” said co-coordinator Kim Lee of Crown Point as she and other volunteers prepare for the main event June 7 and 8. “Our goals this year include at least 57 teams participating, 135 (cancer) survivors, and we hope to raise at least $151,310.”
Last year, 48 teams signed up, with 686 registered participants — 123 of them survivors, she added.
A kickoff is planned Wednesday for those interested in signing up a team, volunteering or just to get general information about the event. Besides the 19 planning committee members organizing a successful celebration, another concern has emerged.
“Just getting the word out about Relay for Life is a big challenge,” said promotions chairman Candy Lieber, of Crown Point. “It always surprises me when I talk to people that have never heard of Relay for Life or what it’s all about.”
As the signature event of the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life is dedicated to expanding awareness and raising money to fight cancer. Teams consist of family members, coworkers, acquaintances and friends. They camp out overnight, taking turns walking the track.
“The Relay is an event that can change your life,” Lieber said. “We gather to remember those we have lost and to honor those who have survived and are still fighting.”
The event begins with a survivor’s lap, followed by a caregiver’s lap, and many more fun laps that continue throughout the night. The Relay lasts for a minimum of 18 hours and this year’s participants will camp out overnight at the Lake County Fairgrounds, enjoy a disc jockey, and join in other activities, such as a silent auction.
One of the most moving parts of the June event will be the luminaria ceremony at dusk, according to Lieber.
Beginning at 9 p.m., luminaria bags are lined up along the track and everyone is asked to participate in a moving ceremony. That is something that you will never forget, she added.
As an added incentive to the success of this year’s event, Lee’s co-chairman Dawn Vitalone has volunteered to shave her head on the evening of the Relay — if $200,000 is raised by that night.