Rickert encourages community to attend 2014 Relay For Life

Last year, we celebrated 20 years of Relay For Life in Mifflin and Juniata counties. This year we begin the next 20 years. How does an event survive that long in a small community?

It starts with the people that make up our teams. They are dedicated to raising money and bringing more awareness for the prevention and treatment of cancer. These groups have joined together because somehow cancer has touched their lives. They may have lost loved ones or may be survivors themselves; they all take cancer personally. The teams work through the year to raise funds for the cause through raffles, Bingo, food sales, dances or just asking for donations. They set goals at the beginning of the Relay year and they work on the goal all year long.

Then we add in our sponsors. Those people and businesses donate money, services and goods that help make our Relay successful. Without our regular sponsors and the many new ones who joined us this year, there would be no Sunday morning breakfast, no kids’ games or home run derby, no dog lap and no meals for our survivors. The sponsors are dedicated to helping make our Relay an outstanding event and never think twice when we come calling every year to ask for their help.

Our event is not only about fundraising, but also about celebrating our survivors – those brave men, women and children who have walked the walk and lived to inspire all of us to continue the fight. Each year we hold special activities for the survivors, including a meal, raffle prizes, a special recognition lap and other gifts including a T-shirt. You will recognize our survivors at the Relay as they are wearing the purple T-shirts that set them apart. Don’t forget to congratulate them on their victory.

The glue that holds all of these facets together is our committee. These volunteers spend countless hours, 365 days a year, planning, recruiting, brainstorming and working to bring this event to fruition each year. Each year, we try to bring new ideas to Relay to make it fun for everyone, regardless of what the weather may hold.

This year we are focused on keeping the fun going for all 24 hours of the event. There will be activities and entertainment into the wee hours of the morning. We want to keep it going to remind all of us that cancer doesn’t sleep.

This year the American Cancer Society changed its national slogan and mission to “Finish the fight.” Let’s keep fighting and doing our part to end this disease in our lifetime.

Whether you have never attended Relay For Life, or this is your 21st Relay, we look forward to seeing you this weekend at Kish Park. Come join the fun and find your reason to Relay!

Kim Rickert is the chairwoman of the 2014 Mifflin-Juniata Relay For Life.