Relay for Life looking to add to county support total
Nick Johnson, Northeast Indiana director for the American Cancer Society, told a group of local businessmen on Thursday that Adams County has become one of the main movers and shakers in this part of the state in raising money toward cancer support and research.
Johnson said that since the local effort started in 1999, it has raised a total of $730,000 through the Relay for Life effort. This year's goal, Johnson said, is $83,000. Much of that will be accomplished through 46 countywide teams and gracious giving by several corporate sponsors.
"Adams County is very active in the fight against cancer in a visible way," said Johnson.
Relay leader Jeannie Adkinson said that the local county has been running a close second to DeKalb County, the current leader in contributions through relay activity.
"We run close to them; we would really like to go around them," said Adkinson.
"Actually, there's a pretty close rivalry going on between us right now."
Some of the primary programs targeted by local giving include the, Look and Feel Better Program; Road to Recovery, an effort to help transport those who need assistance to treatment places; and Hope Lodge, facilities designed to provide housing for those who are staying with loved ones during treatment.
When Johnson asked how many in the group (Rotary) had been affected in some way by cancer, nearly every hand went up.
"The goal of Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society is to help those hands go down one at a time," said Johnson.
Johnson said that the American Cancer Society is second only to the United States government in funding cancer research.
Adkinson said that this year's Relay would begin at noon on Saturday at the Adams Central track with the opening ceremony, survivor lap and caregiver lap.
Other activities going on at the time will be a wrestling tournament, Riddle Ride, oral cancer screening, fight back ceremony, corn hole tournament, kids walk, silent auction, and Razz M’jazz dancers.
At 6 p.m., there will be a second ceremony, survivor lap, caregiver lap and the presentation of this year's caregiver award. A fireman's walk will take place at 6:30 p.m. At 9 p.m., the meaningful annual luminary ceremony will take place, honoring and remembering those to whom tribute is paid with lighting of candles surrounding the track. So far, 1,500 names have been submitted for this year's event. Following the luminary ceremony, there will be karaoke and dancing until midnight. Through the night, there will be a midnight to dawn movie marathon.
A new event this year will be the Service of Hope, which will feature music by Bob Heimann and several other local groups that will begin at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Adams Central football bleachers. In addition, the worship service will include a meditation by Tim Timmons, teacher pastor at the Bridge Community Church. At the close of the service, those present will be given the opportunity to receive a cross and a blessing of hope.
The service will be followed by the final ceremonies, announcement of this year's fundraising total and victory lap.
Vicky Koning shared her battle with breast cancer and that of her husband, Lou Koning, who is currently fighting leukemia. As coach of the Bellmont girls’ basketball team, Koning introduced a free throw shooting event with his girls' basketball team that has raised thousands of dollars toward the American Cancer Society locally.
It was noted that 95 percent of the money raised toward cancer in Adams County stays in the county.
Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society's signature event, raising funds and awareness in support of the society's mission of saving lives from cancer by helping people stay well and get well by finding cures and by fighting back.
An overnight event, teams of friends, family and co-workers camp out and take turns walking around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times, a reminder that cancer never sleeps.
The web site of the local relay is www.relayforlife.org/adamscountyin.
For further information on serving or donating, contact Jeannie Adkinson at 260-728-2186 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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