April is quickly approaching, and anyone who is a resident of Hertford County or Gates County in North Carolina knows exactly what that means: Time to Relay! The 2012 Relay will be from 6 p.m., Friday April 27, until Saturday around 1 p.m. at Chowan University.
Relay for Life is a fundraising event sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Money is raised to be donated to ACS to be used in many cancer-related areas. Research, current patients’ needs, hospital programs, and support groups are only some of the areas money is given to. Teams “compete” to see who can raise the most money through events and fundraisers that are culminated by the main event: a 24-hour walk around Chowan University’s Squirrel Park.
Teams can do anything they want to raise money before the event. In the past, teams have sold dinner plates via tickets, raffled gift baskets, held car washes, and put on fashion shows. Before the event teams sell “luminaries” that are bags to line the track the night of the event. These bags will carry the names of people who have suffered through cancer diagnosis. These names will also be honored on screen during a silent ceremony the night of the event. The 2012 luminary ceremony will be at 9 p.m. on April 27. Any survivors and their caregivers will be invited to walk the first lap around the track at 6:15 Friday so those in attendance can honor their struggle with applause. To purchase a luminary for your loved one contact Shannon Pittman ([email protected]).
During the event, teams set up “camp sites” to sell things (usually food and novelty items). The carnival-like event is full of fun activities. Each hour is marked by a theme lap around the track. Participants in the past have been asked to dress up in Michael Jackson themed get-up, dance a lap, and get decked out with toilet paper! The event is particularly fun for the teen and young adult crowd from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. when these laps take place.
Other activities during the event include talent shows, singing, performance, free health screenings, auctions, and contests. Most teams sell food items that vary from funnel cake to teriyaki chicken.
Hertford-Gates has a lot to take pride in; They have shattered many goals in the past for their Relay for Life event. Despite the recently tough economy, these small county’s really pull together to make their event count. In 2011 their monetary goal was $252,500 and they raised $254,034. The 2012 goal is $267,100 and Hertford-Gates teams have already raised $46,000.
Goals are set for amount of participants, survivors registered, and amount of teams involved also. This year’s team goal of 37 has been met, but more teams and participants are always appreciated! Visit the Hertford-Gates website to register online and see the team captain meeting schedule. All participants who register before the deadline receive a T-shirt. You do not have to be from or reside in either county to participate. Children’s activities will be offered Saturday at 10 a.m..