Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

February 25, 2014

Relay for Life planning begins in Wayne Township

Event changes to 12-hour format

By Brenda L. Holmes brenda.holmes@flyergroup.com
Hendricks County Flyer

---- — The Relay for Life of Wayne Township isn’t until May 17 but planning and recruiting is already underway.

Relay for Life is a movement to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Relay events take place in communities and campuses to honor cancer survivors, promote how individuals can reduce their cancer risk, and raise money to help end cancer.

The Relay for Life of Wayne Township Committee works with American Cancer Society representative Brianna Harvey to plan and execute its event.

“I work with Wayne, Pike, Butler, Speedway, IPS, and Lilly events,” Harvey said. “I really enjoy working with the community events. Relay is the backbone as we wage war against cancer.

“This is not an easy job, but we love hearing the stories on how cancer has impacted people’s lives. Cancer has affected everyone.”

Normally, Relay for Life is a 24-hour event where teams of people walk or run for the duration of the entire event. Team members set goals and raise funds to participate.

Stephanie Higginson and Karen Owen serve on the Relay Advisory Committee for Wayne Township. They are also employees of the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township. Higginson is a math teacher at the Chapel Hill 7th and 8th Grade Center and Owen works in the IT department.

In 2013, they were able to recruit 26 teams and raise $43,676.52.

“I have been Relaying for 14 years,” Higginson said. “I started out in my hometown (Poseyville). Now, I relay two times a year. Once back home and once here in Wayne Township.”

She said the Relay for Life of Wayne Township is primarily made up of teams from within the school district, but there are also teams from the community who participate.

“Poseyville is a very small town and I always love going home for it,” she said. “I look at the one here as a way to help educate youth about cancer. It gives them a better understanding of the disease.”

Since many of the teams have students participating, they’ve decided to make a change this year to a 12-hour event. It will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. May 17 at the Chapel Hill 7th and 8th Grade Center.

There are already nine teams signed up online and several more who have committed verbally.

“The schedule is a big change for this year,” Higginson said. “We decided for the safety of the kids participating it would be wise to keep it within curfew hours.”

Owen said the decision to change the schedule has been received well.

“It’s difficult to run the event with all those kids overnight,” Owen said. “We’ll still have lots of entertainment. Many of the elementary school choirs will come and sing.”

She said local bands will also volunteer their time to offer entertainment for Relay participants.

“And, of course, we’ll have a dunk tank,” she said. “The superintendent and some of the coaches and teachers always volunteer. Dr. (Jeff) Butts has gotten in the dunk tank in a suit. It’s always popular.”

During the event, there will also be a meal to honor local cancer survivors.

“We will also close out the event with the luminary event,” she said.

Lighting luminaries in honor of cancer survivors and in memory of those who have died from cancer-related illness has become a tradition to nearly all of the Relay for Live events across the country.

Information on the Relay for Life event will be posted on the district’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/msdwaynetownship. Each relay also has its own web page on the www.relayforlife.org website. Search for “Indianapolis” and all of the local relays are listed.

Community members who would like to participate may also contact Harvey by calling 344-7800 or by e-mailing to brianna.harvey@cancer.org.