Relays for Life set for Saturday in Harrison, Oakmont
Alle-Kiski Valley residents will rally in support of cancer patients and survivors at annual Relays for Life in Harrison and Oakmont on Saturday.
Oakmont’s 19th annual Relay for Life event is set for Saturday at Riverside Park.
The 17th annual Highlands relay will be held on the soccer field next to Highlands Middle School on California Avenue in Harrison.
This year marks the sixth Oakmont relay under the direction of Nancy “Moochie” Donatucci, a 12-year, Stage 3 cancer survivor.
Survivor JoAnn Monteleone co-founded the Highlands relay with her husband, Tony, who died from cancer in 2016.
The Oakmont relay is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., with opening ceremonies starting around 9:30 a.m. and laps beginning at 10 a.m.
Harrison’s relay runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Oakmont relay’s theme this year is board games with the motto, “Sorry Cancer, We Choose Life.”
“Every year we try to come up with something different,” Donatucci said. “We put them all out to the committee and vote on them. We thought this would be different and fun.”
Teams will have a game board at each table. Relay participants can pick up a game board and get check marks by visiting booths, and turn in their cards for a chance to win a basket of many board games.
About 22 teams have signed up, about the same as last year. Planning began last September.
The Highlands relay theme is “Summerfest,” and features a car cruise from noon to 5 p.m. About 16 cars are registered, and more could turn out if the weather is good, Monteleone said.
Between 16 and 18 teams are expected at Highlands, including teams from the New Kensington relay that disbanded and merged with Highlands last year, she said.
Teams raise money throughout the year. Oakmont’s relay collected about $80,000 last year, and Donatucci said she expects to exceed this year’s goal of $70,000.
“Every, single one of us is touched by cancer in some way, and we need to work together in educating, supporting and funding cancer (research),” she said. “I’m hoping it’s a nice day.”
Other activities in Oakmont include a luminaria and survivor ceremony, silent auction, face painting and musical performances by local artists. There will be food trucks from 4 to 8 p.m.
Guest speaker is 3WS radio personality and breast cancer survivor Bonnie Diver.
A baker’s dozen of food trucks will be at the Highlands relay from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Entertainment will include Aubrey Burchell, a former “American Idol” contestant from North Huntingdon who performed at last year’s relay.
There will be a dove release at 5:30 p.m. and a reception for cancer survivors at 6 p.m. The luminaria ceremony starts at 8 p.m., featuring bagpiper Jonathan Love.
The day is capped off with fireworks at 9:45 p.m., and a 50-50 raffle drawing.
“Hopefully it’s going to be a beautiful day and the rain is going to be over,” Monteleone said. “We just want the community to come out. We really do. We love to have the community come out.”
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .