All systems go for Jefferson County Relay for Life

TORONTO — This weekend’s Jefferson County Relay for Life isn’t just an event for groups who have organized as “teams” to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

It’s for the entire community, according to Emily Russell, who is serving as co-chair of the event along with Tom Simmons. “The whole county is invited,” noted Russell, adding that people don’t have to be part of a team or know someone on a team to be a part of the relay that begins at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Toronto Jr.-Sr. High School Clarke Hinkle Stadium, located at 300 Myers St. It ends at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The goal is to raise $100,000 to help the ACS with research, patient services, advocacy and education. It welcomes the public to participate, donate or just observe what is a community-oriented event offering food, live entertainment and fun in a setting that honors survivors and those who have lost their battle, according to organizers.

The theme is a Disney-oriented one — “Where Cures Come True.”

Setup will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, according to Russell, who reminds team members that T-shirt pickup is tonight at 6 p.m. at the First United Presbyterian Church of Toronto.

“I am very excited but nervous for this year’s event as this is my first year being co-chair,” Russell said. “I am hoping all goes well and everyone has a great time supporting a great cause that is very near and dear to my heart,” added Russell, a cancer survivor herself who led the survivors walk for last year’s relay.

This year, two students and a teacher from Karaffa Elementary in the Toronto City School District will carry the torch in the cancer survivors lap at approximately 6:30 p.m. following opening ceremonies involving the national anthem performed by the Ohio Valley Chorale and welcoming remarks from Toronto Mayor John Parker and Toronto Schools Superintendent Maureen Taggart.

An onsite dinner for the cancer survivors will be held in their honor immediately following the opening lap. Musician Aubrey Slusser will perform during the dinner.

Cancer survivors Jenny Dickinson, a physical education teacher and intervention specialist at Toronto City Schools, and Mara Keenan, 6, and Wyatt Anderson, 11, will lead cancer survivors in the opening lap.

Many teams will have onsite fundraisers, including Chinese auctions. Wal-Mart Distribution Center will be providing a concession stands with proceeds to benefit the relay. The luminaria ceremony will begin at 9:30 p.m. on Friday. They are available for a $10 donation in memory or in honor of a loved one’s battle with cancer.

The schedule of activities for the relay includes: Friday, 6 p.m., opening ceremonies; 6:30 p.m., survivor and caregiver laps, team lap and survivor dinner; 7 p.m. Tri-State Community Band; 7:30 p.m., Friends; 8 p.m., golf ball drop and Fun Time Dancers; 8:30 p.m., fight back ceremony; 9 p.m., Road to Recovery lap; 9:30 p.m., luminaria ceremony; 10 p.m., luminaria ceremony and lighted balloon release; 10:30 p.m., fire hose lap, movies start at tent; 11 p.m., pizza and make cards at main tent for remainder of the event; 11:30 p.m., Cheese Head; midnight, opposite direction lap and Face the Cookie; 12:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., lip sync challenge; 1:30 a.m., glow lap and penny stacking game; 2 a.m., crazy hat lap and pretzel dive game; 2:30 a.m. super hero lap and taste bracelet; 3 a.m., water T-shirt challenge; 3:30 a.m. bubble lap and junk in the trunk; 4 a.m. to 4:30 a.m., bingo; 5 a.m., candy toss game and egg race; 5:30 a.m., noise lap and sunrise service at 5:45 a.m.; 6 a.m., Zumba/Beatboxing with Bev; 6:30 a.m., find and bring scavenger hunt; 7 a.m., doughnut challenge; 7:30 a.m., Suck it Up; 8 a.m., Adam Kiaski singing; 8:30 a.m. closing ceremonies; and 9 a.m. last lap of 2019.

For relay information, contract Tracy Barnhouse, ACS community development manager, by phone at (740) 509-0196 or by e-mail to tracy.barnhouse@cancer.org or Russell via e-mail at emily.relay19@gmail.com.

For ACS information, visit cancer.org. The cancer helpline number is (800) 227-2345.

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