Wyalusing Relay for Life Surpasses Goal
By Kelly Cole
It was questionable, for those attending Wyalusing’s Relay for Life, whether the rain would stay away while they walked to raise money for a cancer cure, honor survivors who are going through treatments, and remember those who have passed on. But only a light rain kept teams company for a short time Saturday morning as they set up tents and prepared for the opening ceremony.
The theme for this year was “We Don’t Play Games with Cancer” and each team had chosen a game to represent them for the relay. Amy Huffman, event co-chair, opened the ceremony by introducing the 24 teams that had shown up on June 11 to complete as many laps around the WVHS track as possible in 24 hours. They lined up to showcase their banners for the first lap of the relay.
There were multiple activities planned to keep everyone entertained and mingling with the other teams throughout the event. After the first few laps around the quarter mile track, many found themselves in the middle of Peterson Stadium preparing to dance to the Macarena.
Emotions flow during an event like this, as participants are connected to someone who has or had cancer. It is a day to remember them and show support and hope that a cure isn't that far away. This year, the Wyalusing Relay for Life has helped by adding approximately $75,000 to finding a cure. This number beats the goal that was set at $65,000 and helps amass a total of $355,000 for the eight years the event has been held in Wyalusing.
Two women who couldn’t imagine that this would happen are sisters, Jan Bouse-Stoddard (this year’s Honorary Chair and Survivor Chair) and Reta Manley (Luminary Chair). They founded the Wyalusing Chapter in 2004, with a goal of raising $15,000 and they struggled to reach that number. Stoddard-Bouse knew that she had “talked the talk” for 20 years while helping with Look Good—Feel Better, that she now had to “walk the walk.”
This year’s Relay is more than they hoped for. They are so proud to be a part of this and to know what an impact they have made in the community. Seeing how many people participate in this event each year moves them.
A downpour started in the afternoon and didn’t let up, but those walking endured and kept the goal of having walkers on the track at all times. But thunder and lighting prevented the Survivor and Luminary Ceremonies from taking place outside. There were 73 preregistered survivors for the event this year with approximately 25 in attendance for Saturday night’s ceremony.
The storm drove some teams home as tents had been blown away and what was left was covered with water. By Sunday morning, some had come back to finish what they had started and be a part of the closing ceremony. That was a time where they would learn that their hard work paid off over the year and they would break goals they had set. It was also the time where winners were announced for the banners, campsites and those who raised the most money.
Banner winners for the youth teams were the Leo Club’s Hungry, Hungry Hippos, and the Wyalusing Elementary School won for the adults with The Game of Life. The Leo Club’s Candyland Crew and the Latini Family’s Cancer Crushers won the campsite contest for the youth and adult teams. Top money raisers for the teams were: Leo Club’s Apples to Apples (youth), Over the Hill Plus (family and friends) and Arrow United (business). Top overall money raisers were: Arrow United (first), Over the Hill Plus (second) and Peoples Helping People (third).
Julie Chapman deserves special recognition for circling the Wyalusing Valley High School track the most in 24 hours with 140 laps, or 35 miles. Winners in these categories can pick up their prize at the Wrap Up Picnic that will be held at the Wyalusing Borough Park on Tuesday, July 5 at 6 p.m. Bring a dish to pass and be ready to sign up for next year’s event and start raising donations.
Relay for Life is the main volunteer driven fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. Since its origination in 1986 by Dr. Gordon Klatt in the United States, it has spread to 21 countries and has raised over $3 billion. Though the primary goal for Relay is to raise money for cancer research and cancer patients, events help spread cancer awareness, celebrate survivors and remember those who have lost their lives to cancer
If you would like more information on how to get involved, you can visit Wyalusing’s Relay for Life website at www.relayforlife.org/pawyalusing or visit their Facebook page under Wyalusing Relay for Life.