Goal is to raise $140,000
Relay For Life set for weekend

Wanda English Burnett

The ongoing battle against cancer is one Ripley County residents are determined to fight until a cure is found.

Their determination can be measured by the turnout this weekend, June 19-20, at the Relay For Life event at the Batesville High School Track where 32 teams have already signed on to raise money for research to cure cancer.

According to BJ Myers, chairperson for the event, there are several new activities planned for a 24-hour stretch that will see participants in a Zumbathon, racing, dancing and winning!

First a Zumbathon will begin at 9:00 a.m. with Laura Ault leading the way. Zumba is taking the country by storm and this will give you the opportunity to be part of the activity.

Then a Road to Recovery 500 Race will take place at 1:00 p.m. According to Myers, “Road to Recovery” is one of the many services provided by the American Cancer Society to cancer patients to help them get back and forth to treatments. “We wanted to bring awareness to this service and have a little fun with it at the same time,” Myers noted. The teams have been asked to create their own “Flintstones style” car and race to the finish line.

The Purple Glove Dance will take place at 2:15 p.m. This activity will see everyone wearing purple gloves and dance to “Everybody Dance Now” on the track. Video clips will be taken and appear on www.youtube.com. Then the number of views it gets on youtube will be tracked and the purple glove dance video with the most views by July 31 will receive a donation to their Relay in the amount of $5,000. For more information you can visit www.purpleglovedance.com. This is something people can do from home even if they can’t attend the Relay event in person.

The “Minute to Win It” will be held from 4:15 to 5:00. This will be based on the popular television reality game show with challenges taken directly from those on the original show.

Also new this year will be “Fundraiser Alley” a place where all of the fundraising can be done in one location - away from the campsites.

A “Relay Grill” will be offered with lots of good things to eat such as hamburgers, walking tacos, nachos and much more. A hot breakfast will be served on Saturday morning.

This year the theme is “Celebrating a world with more birthdays!” The opening ceremony will include a special event called “Reach to Recovery” according to Myers. She said, “I’m a visual person and I think this activity will help everyone visualize the significance that each person plays in the cancer patient’s journey from the time they are diagnosed, through treatment, and finally to recovery.”

Myers said she is also looking forward to “Relay’s Got Talent” and fun events such as the special laps. She likes the Elvis impersonators lap and the PJ fashion show, along with the Super Hero’s lap.

“Each year during the opening ceremony, when the survivors take that first honorary lap to kick-off the Relay, I am so inspired,” noted Myers. She continued, “With every step they take around that track, I am reminded of their courage. Many of them have demonstrated such tenacity as they have fought back against cancer multiple times.”
Myers also appreciates the luminaria ceremony where each light represents a life.

“Each year I stand and look out across the track in utter amazement that there are so many luminaries. Each one of those luminaries represents a person, a life, and a unique story.” She said it is with mixed emotions that she remembers those that have been lost in the fight and celebrate others who have survived. “This ceremony and time of quiet reflection is healing and therapeutic for me, as I am sure it is for everyone,” she noted.

Last year the Ripley County Relay For Life raised $132,000. This year’s goal is $140,000. All of the money is used for research, advocacy, patient services and awareness, according to Myers. You can visit www.cancer.org for more information.

If the weather cooperates, it should be a perfect day, according to Myers, who said everyone has worked especially hard the past nine months for the event. Of course, they do have plans to carry on if the weather decides not to cooperate. They event will be held in the school’s gymnasium if needed.

Anyone wanting to register a team can do so at the website www.relayforlife.org/ripleycountyin. Or call Janice Wilson at 689-5172 or Barbara Eades at 667-5219. Individuals are also welcome to participate and do not have to be part of a specific team. You can come for a short period of time or stay for the entire 24 hours.

As Ripley County gears up for its 15th year of Relay, favorite memories from the past events will be highlighted, and teams and sponsors will be recognized with people who have contributed being honored.

Myers, who is employed with Southeastern Indiana REMC said she is thankful her company has the core value of “commitment to community” and allows her to represent the REMC on the Relay planning committee as part of that commitment. “Volunteering for the American Cancer Society has become a passion for me,” she noted.