SIDNEY — The Shelby County Fairgrounds was filled with hope — “Holidays of Hope” — as participants walked for a cure Friday and Saturday during the annual Relay for Life. Although the day was hot and humid, approximately 400 people participated in the overnight event.
The Relay for Life is held annually to help raise money for the American Cancer Society. The 45 Shelby County teams joined in to help make the holiday themed event a success. This year’s theme was “Holidays of Hope.”
The teams held fundraisers throughout the year and continued to raise funds at the relay. One way they did this was through the auctions held Friday evening and Saturday morning. The teams donated the items to be auctioned off and they raised additional funds for the cause.
Another way teams continued raising money was through foods sold at their sites. Foods ranged from cookies to chicken dinners. Altogether the funds raised were in excess of $68,000.
Friday night at 9 p.m. the somber Luminaria Ceremony took place.
“It is a beautiful ceremony where all of the Luminaria purchased in memory of those who died from cancer or are still fighting cancer or have survived cancer are lit all around the track. You should really see it,” said Bob Schroerlucke, one of the co-leads for the Shelby County walk.
Schroerlucke, along with his wife, Annette, have led the Shelby County walk for the past two years and have been involved for several years as part of a team.
The mood changed at 10 p.m. with the Miss-ter and Miss relay. The contest was held on the track and featured men and women dressed as the opposite sex running a relay.
“The teams are required to have at least one person on the track at all times throughout the relay,” explained Schroerlucke.
This was accomplished even through the night. Different holidays were celebrated during the event, in keeping with the theme. Trick or treating from site to site was a big hit, as was the Easter egg hunt.
The leads tried to make sure there were events for everyone. This included the Small Fry Tri, a race for different age groups of children on the track to line dancing and a lip synching contest on the entertainment stage.
There was even a race called the Fight Back 5k. In first place in the male category was Jimmy Smith, 31, of Bradford. First place in the women’s division was Margaret Cantrell, 53.
Planning has already begun for next year’s relay. If you would like to be a part of a team for this next year, call 937-492-2191. Leave a message if there is no answer.
“This event is just the big event each year. Some of the teams work at fundraising all year long. We get a lot of community support. We have a strong local community. From corporations to regular people, there’s a lot of support,” said Schroerlucke.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.