DILLONVALE - The ninth annual Buckeye Relay for Life, scheduled for May 31-June 1, 2013 at Buckeye Local High School, is looking to recruit more teams to the yearly fund-raising event. According to the American Cancer Society's Jefferson County representative Bethani Barsch, this year's goal for the Relay is $58,000.
The Buckeye Relay for Life group officially kicks off the season with a float in tonight's YTR Christmas parade. There will also be people handing out information about the Relay for anyone interested in learning more about participating.
"Our biggest goal right now is to recruit teams," said Carol Webb, co-chair of the Relay. "In our area, we don't have factories, we don't have big companies, so it's hard for us to recruit new teams." Webb expressed interest in having more family teams or church teams, but she said that anyone who wants to help is more than welcome.
LUMINARIA?light up Buckeye Local stadium at a
previous Relay for Life event in Jefferson County. This year’s Relay is scheduled for May 31-June 1, 2013 at Buckeye Local High School.
Currently, there are eight teams, and there is no limit to the number of members on any one team. Each team is lead by a captain, and team members are asked to raise at least $100 each. However, most don't do individual fund-raising and instead do group fund-raisers that are then distributed equally to team members.
In addition, there are several district-wide fund-raising events that will benefit all teams participating in the Relay. Those include a 5K race in Yorkville on March 17 and a Longaberger bingo set for April 18 at Buckeye Local High School. Buckeye Local's International Fair, held on Dec. 5, also donated some of their proceeds to the Relay. Still, even with the added benefit of district-wide events, team captains get packets with ideas for their own team fund-raisers. Fund-raiser information and ideas are also available on the event web site, www.relayforlife.org.
Tim Marshall, co-chair of the Relay, said his team plans a lot of fund-raisers that have to do with selling food. In addition, he said his team is planning to do a150 mile bicycle ride in May.
There are still some people, however, who don't really understand what Relay for Life is. "So many times I've heard people say, 'I don't run'," said Barsch. Instead, it is a non-competitive, 18-hour event where people get together to celebrate survivorship and fight back against cancer. There are solemn moments, like the luminaria ceremony that celebrates survivors and honors those who have passed. But largely, the event is all about having fun and honoring those would fought or are fighting cancer. "It's a family event. It's for kids, it's for everyone to have fun. You get to know other people and other teams - it's just like a big party," Barsch added.
Barsch said that she is often asked why the event is held during the night. The event actually signifies the life of a cancer survivor going through treatment. "You start out the day and you're feeling good, then you get your cancer diagnosis and the sun starts going down," she explained. "You're trying to make it through the night, but you're tired, you're exhausted - just like all these people out on the track - all they want to do is just quit, but they don't. Then the sun rises and everything is renewed and you feel refreshed again. You know you're going to make it another day with the support of all your friends and family.
"So when people ask why it has to be overnight, I tell them that they are just doing this for one day, but a cancer survivor is doing it every day for the life of his or her treatment."
Survivors also walk their own "survivor lap" followed by a dinner and small gifts. "It's something that you're not going to forget. You have your family and your friends with you and it's something you're going to talk about," Barsch stated.
"For the teams, it's a celebration of all you've done throughout the year to raise money," said Marshall. "It's 18 hours of good family fun. There's always something going on, always music, always walking. There are activities for kids, games - just something to do all night long."
Marshall also added that for anyone who wants to start a team, there is always someone there to help them get things up and running. Individuals wanting to participate also have the option of joining an existing team if they don't want to form one of their own.
Team captains meet once a month. The next scheduled team captain meeting is 6 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Buckeye Local Administrative Office in Dillonvale. Webb encourages anyone who wants to know anything about Relay to attend.
Finally, Webb wanted to clear up a misconception about the Buckeye name for the Relay. "Everyone thinks it's the school Relay, but it's for everyone," she said. "It's called Buckeye Relay for Life because when it started eight years ago, initially it was the school district personnel that initiated the event. The Relay is not a school function, and you don't have to have anything to do with the school to come and have fun."
For more information about the Buckeye Relay for Life, call Bethani Barsch at 888-227-6446 x 2212, Carol Webb at 740-769-7395 or Tim Marshall at 740-424-7193. You can also find them on Facebook at Relay for Life of Buckeye.