Relay for Life recruiting participants

FOLLANSBEE – Organizers of the Brooke-Hancock American Cancer Society Relay for Life are looking for many good men and women and children, too, to participate in the event, which will be held Saturday at the Follansbee Middle School.

The theme for this year’s event is “Boot Camp: Fighting the Battle Against Cancer,” and Chairman Dave Secrist and Co-Chairs Paul and Tammy Hornick and Sandy Yankura hope to enlist an army of area residents to help them wage war against the disease.

Secrist said to help promote the event, a brief parade will be held Tuesday on state Route 2 in Follansbee. Participants will line up at 6 p.m. at the middle school and proceed to the Garibaldi Lodge near the city’s south end.

Individuals and groups interested in joining the area police, firefighters and Relay teams in the parade may call Secrist at (304) 919-3960 or the Hornicks at (304) 737-3748 for information.

Anyone interested in participating in the Relay may enlist beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the football field on Saturday. Thus far 37 teams comprised of 233 people have signed up.

The teams, whose members take turns walking laps around the athletic track, include family members, friends, co-workers, church members, school groups and mixes of all of the above. Individuals not on a team are welcome to participate.

The cost is $10 each, with proceeds going to cancer prevention, research, education and patient services supported by the American Cancer Society.

The Relay will begin at 6 p.m., with the first lap by cancer survivors at 6:15 p.m. Secrist asks cancer survivors to be at the track at 6 p.m., adding they will be treated to dinner provided by the Heart and Soles Relay team and Kroger Food Stores.

The survivors’ participation is important, he said, because it offers hope to others battling the disease.

A lap for caregivers also will be held at 6:45 p.m.

It’s the second year the event has been held at Follansbee Middle School. Secrist said it was moved from Brooke High School because Relay participants may be moved quickly indoors at the new site in the event of a thunderstorm.

He expressed appreciation to the Brooke County Board of Education for its cooperation in using both schools over the years.

Secrist said another benefit to the new location is teams may pitch their tents along the walking track, allowing them to easily view the night’s entertainment and festivities.

The night’s schedule includes a car show, games for children and teens, games pitting teams against each other, the mystery auction and a battle of the barrel-style competition between area fire departments.

A highlight each year is the lighting at dusk of luminaria in memory or honor of loved ones who have battled cancer. The cost is $5 to sponsor one of the many luminaria, which are set up along the track.

Secrist said this year’s event will be capped off with a balloon launch at midnight, and participants also may sponsor balloons for $5.

Relays for Life typically are held overnight, as a reminder that cancer doesn’t sleep. Secrist said this year’s event will end at midnight as an experiment, to encourage more involvement in the later hours.

To encourage awareness of the event, volunteers with the Relay for Life have decorated public areas in municipalities in the Northern Panhandle in purple and white, its official colors, and invited city officials, businesses and residents to decorate streets with banners and ribbons.

Secrist said he and his co-chairs appreciate such support and the various fundraisers that have been held by Relay teams and local schools.

They have included a walk at Weir High School in which students paid $2 each to participate and T-shirts were sold to benefit the cause.

Pupils at Franklin Primary School in Wellsburg also held a mini relay and raised $1,483 for the cause. Secrist, who teaches at the school, said the children had an unusual incentive: the top fundraisers for each grade could shave his hair and that of Principal Scott Donohew.

Secrist told the school’s third- and fourth-graders their top fundraisers could give him a mohawk if the school raised $2,000. The pupils came short of that goal but since they exceeded the $1,000 goal he had set for them, he agreed to receive the mohawk though he’s since shaved it down.

(Scott can be contacted at