Mt. Pleasant Relay for Life participants unfazed by rain
Rain didn't dampen the spirits and enthusiasm of participants in the 14th annual Mt. Pleasant Relay for Life that was held Friday and Saturday at the Regional Family YMCA in East Huntingdon.
“It rained all night,” said Andrea King, Relay for Life specialist. “I don't really think it affected much, though. The DJ kept everyone awake and going and people were still out in the rain.”
The only casualty of the weather was the two site tents that belonged to the team “Mark's Mariners” that went down during the rain.
The tents housed the team's Chinese auction items, which were picked up and moved to a pavilion.
“We didn't miss a beat,” said Linda Miller, Mark's Mariners team captain. “Our sleeping tents were fine, so we were okay there and we just moved our stuff here under the roof.”
But a positive attitude is something that the relay is based on. All 29 teams are there for the same reason — to celebrate, to remember and to fight.
“We started to participate in this four years ago when my brother became cancer free,” Miller said, speaking of her brother Mark Bungard, who was at the relay and was a member of the team. “When we found out about it, we knew that it was very important for us to do something and we wanted to do something positive.”
The rains forced cancellation of the car cruise and a few of the specialty laps that were planned, but the survivor lap took place at noon Saturday, welcoming dozens of cancer survivors, their families and caregivers to take to the track for one lap. The crowds cheered them on.
“I have been coming for years,” said Patty Wright of Youngwood. “I just like to walk with everyone who understands what it's like and I want to celebrate this one small thing with them. It's a victory lap for me and for everyone else on this track.”
Last year, the relay raised $129,000, with many of the repeat teams raising record amounts in their individual endeavors. Although many teams did not raise the same as last year, that did not discourage them.
“Last year was a great year for us,” said Linda Millslagle of “Kevin's Krusaders.” “We raised over $6,000 and every year we try to raise a little bit more.”
“Kevin's Krusaders” had a Chinese auction on site and hosted the first “Push-Pull-Pedal Crazy Car” lap that was an additional fundraiser.
“Every little bit helps,” Millslagle said, adding the weather may have kept the crowds down but the team was still in high spirits. “We are still having fun. We are selling tickets and enjoying the event.”
The total amount raised will not be determined for several days, because many fundraising events and team totals are still being tallied.
Money raised will be used for cancer awareness, education and research that will be made possible through the American Cancer Society.
“All of us here are a part of something big,” said Rachel Davis, Relay for Life chairperson. “To the survivors, we may not be able to walk in your shoes, but we can walk beside you and behind you and with you.”
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.