The Delaware County Relay for Life, a benefit for the American Cancer Society, is scheduled for tonight at Ridgerunner Stadium.
Activities are slated to begin at 7:00 p.m. and will run through to 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning.
“Relay for Life is our signature fundraiser,” said Stephanie Madsen, American Cancer Society liaison to Delaware County. “It’s a world wide event. We’ve done it since 1985 so this year we’re celebrating 25 years of Relay.”
A host of activities will be on the offering with a number of local luminaries on hand to add to the pageantry.
State Representative Doug Cox will give opening comments and Grove Mayor Gary Bishop will lead the gathered in a benediction that will give way to a cancer survivors Victory Lap around the stadium track to formally initiate the proceedings.
Between then and the 7:00 a.m. Saturday finale a flurry of activity will descend upon Ridgerunner Stadium. Contests, ranging from a Saltine Whistling competition to a Bed Head test will be among the offerings.
Event sponsors will also host a variety of games, including Arvest Bank, Jay Wal-Mart, Grand Lake Casino, and Walgreens.
A Relay Queen will also be crowned on the evening.
“It’s an open community event and anyone is welcome to come and stay as long as they want,” Madsen said. “We’ll have relay volunteers selling food, and games going on, and live entertainment and music.”
The night will be one of fun and games but there will also be a time to bring into focus the meaning of the event. A Luminaria Ceremony and the lighting of candles are scheduled for 10:00 p.m. The hour will be met by a moment of silence to remember and honor cancer victims and survivors.
“The relay is a real festive and carnival-like atmosphere but the Luminaria ceremony is more of a reverent time,” Madsen said.
Last year the Delaware County relay raised $32,000 for the American Cancer Society and the goal this year is to reach $40,000. The Relay looks set to break last year’s mark and is on a good pace to reach their goal, according to Madsen.
“We have a goal of $40,000,” Madsen said. “Right now we’re just under $30,000; so we’ve raised a lot of money to date. Our relays always bring in a lot of money on the event night so it’s looking pretty promising that we’ll get to our goal.”
The money that the American Cancer Society raises is put to good use in Delaware County.
“We also provide a lot of patient program and services right there in Delaware County,” Madsen said. “We distribute nutritional supplements, we offer wigs, prosthetics, support groups. We can also provide gas cards for people traveling into Tulsa for treatment. There are a lot of different recourses we provide.”
The relay, and the good it provides for Delaware County, would not be possible without the support of the community and a dedicated group of volunteers. The Delaware County relay chair for 2009 is Melody Casper.
“Our volunteers are really dedicated and they do a lot of hard work,” Madsen said.
For more information about the American Cancer Society access their web site at www.cancer.org or contact the Tulsa office at 918 — 477 — 5400.