Relay For Life celebrates 20 years
LEWISTOWN – This year’s Mifflin-Juniata Relay For Life celebrates 20 years of community participation and fundraising committed to finding a cure. The 24-hour event is dedicated to the superheros living with cancer, surviving cancer and working for a cure. “Our theme this year is ‘No Fear, 20 Years, Relayers are Superheros,'” said Kim Yoder Rickert, co-chair of Relay For Life. “It’s about honoring all these people coming together and fighting for a common cause.”
The 40 teams, consisting of 516 participants, registered so far have raised $66,420 of the $150,000 goal, Rickert said. However, most teams don’t report final fundraising numbers until the end of the event, she said.
“We really are right on track to reach our goal,” Rickert said. “A lot of the teams continue fundraising even as the event is going on by selling baked goods or homemade products to other teams or the public. One year, a team made cooling bandanna necklaces that people wore as they walked the laps.”
The event kicks-off with the first team lap at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 8 at Kish Park and runs until 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 9. Opening ceremonies will be held at 4:30 p.m., Saturday rather than 10 a.m. like previous years. Carla Inzerillo will light and carry the Relay Torch, along with Gianna Hess, a 2-year-old cancer survivor.
The survivor lap has also been moved from its regular time on Saturday at 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the dinner from noon to 5:30 p.m., said Kim Stewart, co-chair of the Survivor Committee.
“I visited other relays that held their survivor events later in the day and participants really liked it,” Stewart said. “We decided to move the survivor walk and dinner to the afternoon in hopes they will stay for the luminaria service.”
This year’s luminaria service has also been redesigned, Rickert said. The service will feature a local speaker and singer, a candle lighting ceremony and a candlelit walk around the track.
“We’re trying to make the ceremony a more involved and special experience,” Rickert said. “It’s a very moving event. Anyone that has ever lost someone to cancer or knows someone that has survived should attend. It’s a neat thing to be a part of.”
Throughout the fundraiser, participants or the public can purchase a luminaria bag, in honor or memory of someone, to be placed around the track.
Saturday events also include a dog lap, superhero parade, cake decoration contest, Glow Zumba with Taz Fitness and much more.