Mt. Pleasant Relay for Life heading for starting line
“I always tell people that it's like one big carnival, and one for a great cause,” Mt. Pleasant Relay for Life chair Rachel Davis said of the upcoming annual event that will be held once again at the Regional Family YMCA in East Huntingdon. “It's a fun event for the whole family to enjoy.”
Since 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt took to a walking track in Tacoma, Wash., running around the track for 24 hours in an effort to raise money for cancer, participants have flocked to the relays, raising millions that is used for cancer research and to raise awareness of the diseases that affects many.
The 24-hour relay is an organized community event that welcomes competing teams to hit the track to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
With a mission that is tri-fold, relays are held with the intent that those who were lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those facing cancer will be supported and that one day the disease will be eliminated altogether.
And the relay is much more than just a fundraiser, it's a life-changing event.
“It's almost like a big support system,” said Scott Porterfield of the team Cameron's Angels, adding that returning teams have forged a special bond. “We look forward to seeing the other teams year after year, and we all try to support each other.”
The Mt. Pleasant Relay will feature 26 teams this year, who will offer fun activities, games and interesting fundraising events that will center around the event's theme “Racing for a Cure.”
“There is going to be lots of interesting things this year,” Davis said of the teams that have been planning for months for the summer event. “There will different things with different kinds of racing like cars, horse and bicycles. So far, everything is coming along great.”
The event will be held starting at 5 p.m. Friday and will continue through 5 p.m. Saturday.
This is the first year that the event will be held over a Friday night. It traditionally has been held over a Saturday night, finishing up on Sunday morning.
“We wanted to try something different this year and people really seem to be excited about it,” Davis said, adding that one of the reasons behind the change in days and times will assure that there is participation both days. “It just seemed that Sundays were just spent tearing everything down.”
Highlights of the two-day event will include the 5 p.m. Friday kickoff and the 9 p.m. luminary event that will also be held on Saturday.
Going along with the theme, a car show that welcomes all antique and classic cars from the area will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.
“We are asking for a $5 donation,” Davis said of those who wish to bring their vehicles to the show for display. “We will also be giving out dashboard plaques to the first 50 cars.”
At noon Saturday, the survivor lap will take place, inviting all survivors and their caregivers to the track for one special round.
The survivor lap will then be followed by the annual survivor dinner.
“Right now, we have 68 survivors registered,” Davis said. “Anyone who wants to be at the dinner, which is free to them, needs to contact us so we know how many to prepare for.”
Saturday will also feature activities and entertainment that will include the Miss Relay competition.
Food will be available throughout the relay, and teams will have lots of fun and entertaining things to do for everyone.
Anyone who wants to take part, become a part of a team or just visit and grab a bite to eat to take part in the festive atmosphere is encouraged to attend.
”The relay is for everyone,” Davis said. “Come out and get something to eat or just come out and enjoy yourself. You don't have to walk if you don't want to, but just come and see what it's all about.”
Volunteers are needed for the event. Those who are interested can call Davis at 412-558-9572.
Survivors who wish to register can do so on the website at www.relayforlife.org.
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.