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Final plans in place for McKeesport's 17th annual Relay for Life

| Friday, Aug. 12, 2011

More than 100 participants on a score of teams are ready to set out on McKeesport's 17th annual Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Final plans were made earlier this week for Saturday's event, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and continue until Sunday at 10 a.m. in the parking lot of McKeesport Area High School along Eden Park Boulevard.

As of Thursday night, 21 teams were signed up with 126 participants and $17,152 raised toward a goal of $81,000.

According to the relay website, the team of S.A. Cruisers has achieved 1,221 percent of its goal. The aim was to raise $1,000 and $12,210 was brought in, $12,085 alone by team member Terri McClements.

"Almost everyone has been touched by cancer, either through their own personal battle or through someone they love," McClements blogged on the McKeesport Relay for Life website.

McClements set a personal goal of $20,000.

Next up as of Thursday are Pratt's Pack at $1,060 and Pratt's Pack II at $785.

Tents will be set up Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. The tents will be judged in accord with the relay theme this year, "Relay of Champions — Fight Back."

Then there will be opening ceremonies at 10 that feature a welcome from event chairman Paul Ruhl, the national anthem as sung by Kim Shaw of the Rehab Relayers, an invocation from the Rev. John Yohe and remarks from some dignitaries.

A parade of survivors and relay teams will follow. Events begin with Zumba, a "hope auction" and the opening of the food court at 11 a.m. The auction will continue until 9:45 p.m.

Ten booths will be set up in that food court near the relay track. Items to be sold range from stuffed cabbage to funnel cakes to nachos and kielbasa with sauerkraut.

The "champions lap" at noon will feature Soap Box Derby racers. Games and other fun-day activities will begin at 12:30 p.m.

Other events include a wedding song lap at 2, a birthday lap-cake at 3, karaoke from 3-5, the Miss Relay contest at 4 and the Fight Back Ceremony at 5.

More is slated as the clock ticks on. A survivor lap is set at 5:30, a caregiver lap at 5:45, a survivor reception at 6 and a Hawaiian lap at 7:45.

After ABC Dance Studio by Jo Ann performs at 8, a luminary ceremony takes place at 9. The bagged votive candles are meant to provide an atmosphere for healing.

"From sunset to sunrise, as each name is read, we honor our survivors and those who lost their battle, while remembering there is still work to do in defeating this disease," Ruhl said.

"Reflections of our day" is slated at 10, then a performance by comedian Jason Henson at 10:15, the "pajama lap" and "nite nite songs" at 11, and "monster songs" and a "mummy lap" at midnight.

Moving on into Sunday, the overnight stretch includes movie song laps (12:30 a.m.), a polka lap (1), a poker lap (1:30) and quiet time from 2:30-6 a.m.

Quiet but people still will be moving. A bingo lap is slated at 3 and a Scrabble lap at 4. Doughnuts and coffee will be available at 7, a broom lap is set at 8 and time for "celebrating life" is set at 9.

A closing ceremony will be held at 9:30.

Other events highlighted by relay organizers include nearby church services.

First Evangelical Free Church on the Penn State Greater Allegheny campus has services Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 10:45 a.m.

Holy Family Polish National Church across Eden Park from the high school has Mass at 9 and 11 a.m.

More details are available at here .

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