Relay for Life committee members and team captains gathered at First Presbyterian Church in Mount Airy on Monday night for an open house to learn about Relay for Life of Surry 2011.
Committee members had refreshments and information booths set up in the church fellowship hall for Relay team captains who came to pick up packets and learn about the next Relay. The annual Relay for Life gives volunteers the chance to participate in a relay to help raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society. This year, there are a few changes to the local event.
In Mount Airy, Relay for Life will be held on June 3, 2011 instead of in May, when the event is usually held. Giny Haynes with the American Cancer Society explained that for the past couple of years it has rained at the relay in May.
“We’re hoping for better weather,” said Haynes.
Another change this year is that teams will receive fundraising club signs to post outside their businesses, church or other offices. The signs will show how much money the fundraising club has raised. Each time the team reaches another level, the sign can be updated with a new sticker. Teams must raise $2,500 to get the bronze level sign, $3,500 for the silver level, $5,000 for the gold level, $7,500 for platinum, $10,000 for jade, $15,000 for sapphire, $25,000 for emerald, $50,000 for ruby, $75,000 for diamond, and $100,000 for purple. Those teams that raise $1,000 but do not reach the bronze level will receive a certificate.
Of the signs, Haynes said, “They’re just another way to recognize our teams.”
Last year the relay was held at Mount Airy High School and raised $106,792 for the American Cancer Society. According to Haynes, the goal this year is to raise $110,000. The local Relay was recognized at the Relay Leaders Conference for Western NC in October for raising $2.29 per capita last year and for reaching the $100,000 mark.
The focus of this year’s effort will be “staying well,” Haynes said. Starting in January, Relay volunteers will meet once a month. A focus at each meeting will be healthy living.
The event chairs for the upcoming Relay for Life in Mount Airy are Jannine DeKoning and Cindi Ward. Ward got involved with Relay after she lost her dad in 1995.
“It’s a way to give back,” said Ward.
DeKoning also has had family members affected by cancer. She said, “It’s impacted so many lives.”
Monday night several team captains came out to gather information. Lynn Rigney and Lou Sawyers of Flat Rock Baptist Church left the event with stacks of information to take back to their team.
“We have lots of members of our church that have been affected by cancer,” said Rigney of why they decided to have a team.
They said people in the community should get involved with Relay to raise awareness and support.
At the open house, the team captains chatted briefly with Crystal Kirsch, a volunteer who is in charge of the Luminaria part of Relay for Life. Her 7-year-old son, Cody, is a survivor of cancer.
Kirsch said, “I want to see a cure, and all the money goes for research.”
She said people need to get involved “so that they don’t have to see their loved ones die from cancer.”
Anyone in the community can form a team to raise money for Relay for Life and participate in the event. Those who register online by Dec. 25 will receive an early bird discount; the $10 registration fee will be waived for their first 10 team members.
“That’s the first step: going to our Web site and registering,” said Haynes.
Last year around 50 teams registered with Relay for Life of Surry-Mount Airy. Organizers hope to have at least five to 10 new teams this year.
“As many teams as we can get the community to support ... After all, it’s for the community,” said Ward.
To sign up for Relay for Life, visit www.relayforlife.org/surrymtairy. People can also send e-mails to email@example.com if they have any questions.
Contact Meghann Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.