SIDNEY — The Relay for Life of Shelby County held its 2019 kick-off event on Thursday evening at the Sidney Moose Lodge. The theme for this year’s relay is “The Wizard of Oz… Where There’s No Place Like Hope.”
Thursday’s event began with dinner, followed by a welcome and introductions provided by RFL co-leaders and team ambassadors Deb Kaufman and Patty Wood.
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network representative Rhonda Pence was introduced and announced the CAN membership drive. For a minimum donation of $10, participants will receive a year-long membership to the network. Forms will be available at the RFL meetings.
“The Cancer Action Network is another way that the American Cancer Society gets our voices out there through legislation, through laws, and things like that; we need everybody’s help,” Pence said.
Pence also mentioned the importance of registering each member of each Relay for Life team. This is especially important when it comes to ordering team t-shirts.
Kaufman also introduced the American Cancer Society community manager Kathy Milam. Milam is the main information contact between RFL and the ACS. She may be contacted by phone, at 888-227-6446 ext. 4201, or by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kaufman then discussed the need for volunteers to assist with planning and organizational needs of this year’s RFL.
“We need help in entertainment and activities,” Kaufman said. “A lot of the entertainment that we’ve been doing, like the lip-sync battle, BINGO, the Family Feud, and the frozen t-shirt contest are already set, but we need fresh ideas. We’ve got an awesome theme this year, so if there’s anyone who wants to join the committee to help brainstorm and think of activities, we would be more than happy.”
Kaufman mentioned the need for a volunteer to lead the organization of the “Paint the Town/County Purple” event this year. Volunteers are also welcome to assist with the various planning and organizational needs within the RFL committees.
ACS program manager Marybeth Torsell was in attendance to introduce herself.
“I have been with ACS for 11 years,” Torsell said. “I cover 19 counties within Ohio, and my main role is volunteer recruitment.”
Torsell also uses money raised by the RFL to bring programs and services to the communities. The main program focus this year, she said, is the Road to Recovery.
Road to Recovery is an ACS program that provides transportation to and from treatment for people with cancer who do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves.
“We’re looking for volunteer drivers,” Torsell said. “If you know of someone who has some free time during the day who would like to take a patient to their cancer treatment and take them back home, they can sign up to be a volunteer.”
The Survivors and Caregivers committee, represented by member Annette Schroerlucke, acknowledged all survivors and caregivers in attendance by having them stand for recognition, and giving each a Blow Pop sucker.
“A survivor is a survivor from the very first time they hear the words, ‘You have cancer,’” Schroerlucke said. “You are the reason we do this.
“We’re going to act as the ‘Lollipop guild’ tonight,” she continued while handing out the suckers. “And you know what? Our survivors blow us away.”
Kaufman took a moment to recognize the progress made by the ACS in recent years.
“Your generosity keeps the ACS going,” she said. “Over the last 100 years, they have been working to cure cancer. We’re not there yet, but with the help of the donors we’ve made some incredible progress.
“This includes $4.8 billion the ACS has invested in cancer research since 1946; 8.5 million rides to treatment provided for cancer patients; 915,000 screenings the ACS has contributed to under-serviced communities since 2011; and 2.4 million cancer deaths averted since 1991.”
The evening began with a total of $7,898.69 having already been raised for the 2019 RFL. By the end of the kick-off event, a total of $12,852.77 had been donated by five teams, bringing the grand total to $20,751.46.
Kaufman said the goal for this year’s event is $154,000, which she is confident will be surpassed.
The next Relay for Life of Shelby County event will take place Thursday, March 21, at 6 p.m., at the Sidney Moose Lodge. This will be a chili cook-off rally.
Rallies are also scheduled for Thursday, April 18, and Thursday, June 20, both at 6 p.m. at the Moose Lodge. The former will include a quarter auction.
For more information, contact Deb Kaufman, at email@example.com, or Patty Wood, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.