2009-02-12 / Local & State

Relay For Life Kickoff Set For February 15

Relay needs you in fight against cancer
By Lindsay R. Mellott STAFF WRITER

Organizers of Fulton County's 2009 Relay For Life and Daffodil Days are set to launch the two annual fundraising events for the American Cancer Society (ACS) at a 2 p.m. kickoff that takes place this Sunday at the American Legion in Mc- Connellsburg

This year's Relay on May 29 and 30 at the Fulton County Fairgrounds will mark the 15th year it has been held in Fulton County, where nearly $600,000 has been raised for the ACS since the Relay was first held here.

A unique event that offers individuals, businesses and organizations - entire communities - the opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer, Relay For Life is the ACS's signature activity and the largest community fundraiser in the world.

Relay committee Chairman Anthony D'Anna says that Sunday's two-hour kickoff will be full of information about the Cancer Society's programs and services, cancer, how to organize a Relay team, ideas for fundraising and selling daffodils. He promises some fun, too, with refreshments, games, a cake walk and prizes.

Relay teams, D'Anna said, are typically made up of families, co-workers, school groups or clubs that have had members affected by cancer. Team members take turns walking a track continually for about 24 hours to remember those lost to cancer, to support those who are facing cancer and to raise money to use toward finding a cure for cancer.

The Relay committee hopes to have 30 teams onboard to make 2009's $40,000 goal. Last year's Relay raised roughly $35,000.

"Cancer's here to stay. It's here this year and it will be here next year," D'Anna said. "It's recession proof. You can't bail out cancer." He said the Fulton County Relay helps, even if it's only a little bit, to move closer to the ACS's goal of someday eliminating cancer.

"We can't make that difference without help," said D'Anna, who knows times are tough but remains positive that people here will still do what they can to support the Relay.

D'Anna also said the committee would like to have 65 cancer survivors turn out for the Relay's survivor ceremony and dinner that take place on May 29 before the event officially gets under way.

Sunday's kickoff also marks the official start of Daffodil Days for the ACS. Daffodils are the Cancer Society's signature flower and funds raised through their sale, according to Connie Woodruff, ACS community cancer control specialist, support programs and services such as transportation assistance, emotional support and education for cancer survivors and their families.

Woodruff said 144 free services ranging from financial assistance with cancer-related medications and financial assistance for transportation to support programs for specific types of cancer and free wigs were used by 53 Fulton County cancer patients from September 2007 through January 2009.

D'Anna, Woodruff and the Relay For Life Committee feel strongly that cancer education is critical to preventing the disease, the number two cause of death in the United States. The group has adopted "Education is the Key to Prevention" as this year's Relay theme.

"I think that now, more than ever, we need to educate people about the programs and services the American Cancer Society provides so that people know to call 1-800-ACS-2345 if they or someone they know is diagnosed with cancer," Woodruff said.

A March 1 snow date has been set for the kickoff. Radio stations WAYZ 104.7FM and Mix 95.1 will broadcast cancellation information if there is inclement weather on Sunday.

For more information about Relay For Life, Daffodil Days and the kickoff, call the ACS at 717- 264-6266.

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