Community goes to bat for cancer survivors at Kish Park

LEWISTOWN – The 2014 Relay For Life of Mifflin-Juniata will begin at 10 a.m. on June 14 and continue into the next day as the community gathers to celebrate its survivors, remember those it has lost and fight against cancer by raising funds for the American Cancer Society.

The theme of this year’s 24-hour event, to be held at Kish Park, is “Team up for the cure: Kicking cancer out of the park.”

Relay will begin at 10 a.m. with the torch-lighting ceremony and first lap. Various musicians will perform throughout the day, including the Lewistown Community Band, Steve Snook with Jason Ufema, Fools on Stools and No Last Call. Kenzie McCarter, winner of this year’s River Valley Idol competition, will perform with Chris Ruble at the opening ceremony, which will begin at 4:30 p.m.

The ceremony also will feature Voice of Hope speaker Marguerite Santorine of Lewisburg, a caregiver who lost her young daughter to cancer in 2000. Kim Stewart, of Lewistown, will speak on the importance of caregivers in the lives of survivors.

After the survivor lap and dinner, registered survivors will be asked to gather for a group photo at 6:30 p.m.

Also, in recognition of caregivers, a special lap will be taken at 3 p.m. after a pin presentation by the survivors.

Various theme laps will take place over the course of the event. There will be a kids lap, a three-legged lap, a candlelight lap and a pajamas lap, just to name a few. At 11:30 a.m., registered pets can participate in the dog lap. The $10 fee includes a doggy bag and bandana. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.

In line with the sports theme, one new event this year will be a home run derby, which will be held at 2 p.m. on June 14. Children ages 8 to 12 can participate in their own age group for a $10 registration fee.

A “Miss”-ter Relay contest will allow men wishing to put their best beauty queen foot forward and provide an optional talent portion. Contestants will take the stage at 3:15 p.m. The participant raising the most money in their donation jar wins the competition.

The annual cake contest will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the auction to begin at 6:30 p.m. The time for the contest was earlier in previous years, but has been pushed back to limit the time the baked goods spend in the heat.

McCarter will sing again at the 8:45 p.m. luminaria ceremony, as will Tina Riden, who will serve as emcee for that service as well. Breast cancer survivor Brenda Hoffer, of Harrisburg, will be the ceremony’s featured speaker.

Luminarias in honor or in memory of loved ones will be available for purchase by donation throughout the day. Gold bags will be used to illuminate the word “Hope” during the ceremony and can be purchased for $20. Survivor luminarias will have a purple butterfly stamped on them.

There also will be bags on display created through the Relay Recess program, where children decorate bags at their schools. Parents have the option of purchasing the bag their child creates, but if they don’t, others purchasing a luminaria at the event have the option to buy one of the decorated bags. This year, East Derry and Indian Valley elementary schools participated in the program.

A T-shirt drive also will be held during this year’s event. Size extra large T-shirts can be donated at the survivor tent and will be used to teach survivors to make their own inexpensive head coverings.

Breakfast will be served at 6 a.m. on June 15, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Lewistown. At 8:45 a.m., the final lap will be taken and the grand total of funds raised at the 2014 Relay For Life of Mifflin-Juniata will be announced.

For more information on the home run derby, contact Shannon Keller at or (814) 865-0018. School administrators interested in the Relay Recess program can contact Maddy Pryor at or (814) 234-1023. For more information on Relay or to purchase luminarias in advance, visit