“Survivors are a very intricate part of the relay, and we want to reach out to them,” said Kimbra Stewart, the 2008 American Cancer Society Mifflin-Juniata Relay For Life survivor chairwoman.
“It’s simple. If we didn’t have survivors, we wouldn’t have relay,” she said.
This year’s Mifflin-Juniata Relay For Life opening ceremony is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 7, said Debbie Himes, who has assisted with the local event for 10 years; five of which she served as chairwoman.
‘We are going to change things all around this year,” Himes said. “We want everyone (survivors) to have a chance to carry the torch.”
Participants in this year’s relay will start the opening walk at the top of the hill at Derry Park, Stewart said. She and Himes explained the walking procession will stop at the park’s bridge, where a single person will then bring the light across the bridge, igniting the event’s main torch.
Himes said survivors will be called individually by their name. When called, each survivor and their accompanying careperson will be offered the opportunity to carry the torch, she said. The torch will then be passed to the next survivor/caregiver.
“I want to make it known that anybody unable to make it up or down the hill can wait at the bridge,” Himes said. “They will then join the procession for the remainder of the ceremony.”
Registration for the event will occur prior to the opening ceremony, from 9:30 to 11 a.m., Stewart said. Various concession stand vendors will be on hand for people who want to purchase lunch, Himes said.
From 1 to 2 p.m., a survivor/caregiver miniature golf tournament is scheduled. During that time, various other games will be offered, Himes said. Then, from 2 to 3 p.m., anyone attending can participate in bingo, followed by a 3 p.m. “fancy dessert reception.”
Himes said “passports” will be given to survivors and their caregiver. Each time the duo participates in an event, the passport will be stamped. If they get the passport stamped by participating in every event, the survivors and caregivers will be registered for a prize drawing, she said.
The closing ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, June 8, at the park. As more information of the day’s events and entertainment becomes available, it will be included in The Sentinel.
Relay for Life is a 24-hour celebration of life through community efforts to recognize cancer survivors and their caregivers, while raising funds to fight cancer through research, education, advocacy and service programs, according to information posted on the American Cancer Society’s Web site, http://www.relayforlife.org.'>www.relayforlife.org.
Teams are composed of family members, friends, local businesses, hospitals, schools, churches, and community organizations. The event has a festive atmosphere, as the teams camp out overnight and entertainment keeps children and team members amused while not walking on the track.
Last year’s local event raised $256,401.28 to help support research and programs aimed at finding a cure for cancer.
If a person is a past survivor and has not received this year’s materials by April 18, he or she should contact Stewart at 543-5441.
For more information about the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, call (888) 227-5445. The Mifflin-Juniata Relay For Life ACS office is located at 342 S. Logan Blvd., in Burnham, and can be reached by calling 242-8526.
The deadline to register is May 15, and registered survivors will receive a T-shirt.
Fact BoxIf you go
What: 2008 Mifflin-Juniata Relay for Life.
Where: Derry Township Community Park.
When: June 7-8.
The Mifflin-Juniata Relay For Life ACS office is located at 342 S. Logan Blvd., in Burnham, and can be reached by calling 242-8526.