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Relay for Life Friday at Baldwin High School

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

The third annual Baldwin Relay for Life is scheduled for summer solstice, Friday, the longest day of the year.

It's a fitting day for the participants who will rally for a cure. The opening ceremony will kick off at 6 p.m. followed by a survivor lap around Baldwin High School Stadium. People also will be able to remember loved ones who did not survive their battle against cancer with the luminaria ceremony at 9 p.m.

Participants will remain at the stadium through the night. The closing ceremony is 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

As of Monday, 18 teams and 203 participants raised about $57,000. Top teams include Direct Energy Business ($9,487) and Team GBU Financial Life ($8,785).

“We have about the same number of teams,” said relay organizer Neil Gearhart. “We are right on track to hit our goals.”

Last year, $44,000 was raised for the American Cancer Society. The goal for this year is $47,500.

Student teams are not making as strong a presence because the date — set for later in the year — has increased conflicts for students and teachers who have vacation plans.

In the past, the relay competed with events such as Baldwin Community Day and the Baldwin Invitational.

“We still hope that the students turn out,” Gearhart said, “but we haven't had as high of numbers from the schools as we have in the past.”

Alexis Steppling and Erin Markosky, Baldwin alumni, are the leading efforts to get students to participate. So far, they have raised $1,950, mostly through bake sales.

“I believe that the date change was actually a good thing,” Steppling said.

Brittany Goncar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or bgoncar@tribweb.com.

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