Good News Blog

Relay for Life

Thursday, Jun. 15, 2006

Relay raises more than $31,000 for cancer research

When the sun came up over Lake Atalanta Park on Saturday morning more than 100 tired Relay for Life team members packed up their campsites and headed home. The overnight event raised over $31,000 for the American Cancer Society, chair Kathy Iles said, although the total is not official. In fact, donations are still coming in and will continue until August 31.

Twelve teams started fundraising in early spring, Iles said, with everything from yard sales to dog walks. The team that raised the most was New Hope for a Cure, formed at the New Hope Animal Hospital. The team raised over $6,500 and also received the best team spirit award.

Each team chose a theme, and at the Relay, awards were given out. Swepco’s “Past time for a Cure so Plug In and Help” team was awarded best theme. Team members dressed as frontier men and tomahawk throwing lessons were offered throughout the night.

The best decorated campsite award went to Happy Dayz Relayz, a team formed at Henshew Carpets that used a fifties theme.

Over 100 luminaries, each with the name of someone who battled cancer, lit the track during a special lap honoring cancer survivors and remembering victims.

The track incorporated the sidewalks throughout Lake Atalanta Park and the city worked hard to get them ready, Iles said. In some places, Relay for Life is held on a football field, but using the park meant the teams could use the playground equipment and the pool, Iles said. She plans to use it again next year, she said.

Thursday, May. 25, 2006

Ponytails of hope

As Beauty Bar hairstylist Alisa Wallace worked her scissors through 9-year-old Erica Eyler’s ponytails, Erica squeezed her eyes shut anxiously.

After five minutes, Erica opened her eyes, and with a look of shock, saw 10 inches of her honey blond hair in her hands.

‘‘This is going to be beautiful and it’s going to be fun,” Wallace said of the girl’s new, short bob.

With only a few styling tools and a hairdryer inside the Great Frederick Fair grounds Friday evening, Beauty Bar stylists cut volunteers’ hair for free to donate to Locks of Love.

Locks of Love is a national nonprofit organization that uses donated hair and resources to provide realistic hairpieces to children 18 years and younger with long-term medical hair loss.

Boys and girls who receive hairpieces have lost their hair due to cancer treatments, severe burns or from alopecia areata, an auto-immune disorder that stops hair growth.

According to Locks of Love’s national office, participating hair salons such as Hair Cuttery, Fantastic Sam’s and Super Cuts, have Locks of Love decals in their windows.

The Locks of Love donations were part of Frederick County’s Relay for Life events on Friday and Saturday.

Relay for Life is an overnight event to celebrate survivors of cancer and raise money for research and programs for the American Cancer Society. According to the Frederick County Relay for Life Web site, donations this year totaled more than $94,000. Since 1997, the county event has raised more than $1 million for cancer research.

Teams across the country gather at schools, fairgrounds and parks to walk or run laps and gather donations for their time. Each team must have at least one member on the track throughout the event.

Along with the relay, many other events went on throughout the evening, including the Locks of Love donations.

Erica’s mother, Lisa Eyler of Walkersville, watched proudly as Wallace cut and styled her daughter’s hair. Eyler, a committee member for Relay for Life, said that her mother recently died of cancer, and donating hair to Locks of Love was something that she and Erica had talked about.

‘‘My grandma just died from pancreatic cancer so I thought I could donate some and help someone out,” Erica said.

The Beauty Bar agreed to donate its time and resources to the Frederick Relay for Life after an acquaintance of Eyler’s asked, manager April House said.

The Beauty Bar also cuts hair for Locks of Love for free at its salon in the Francis Scott Key Mall, House said. The salon’s parent company, Renee Beauty Salon Inc., is actively involved in community service. It is the reason why hairstylist Wallace works for the salon.

‘‘Our company is really good on anything to help the community,” she said. ‘‘It’s almost like we get frowned upon if we don’t help the community.”

Wallace has been personally involved with cancer awareness and fund raising efforts, she said.

‘‘A lot of people in my life have been affected,” she said. ‘‘It gets sad and depressing, but then you get mad about it,” Wallace said of cancer’s emotional toll.

Kimberley Stup, a team captain for United Healthcare at the Relay for Life, also donated 10 inches of her dark brown hair on Friday. Stup, a Thurmont resident, lost her mother to cancer when Stup was 8, she said.

Both Erica and Stup filled out a donor information card that will be sent with their hair by the Beauty Bar to Locks of Love.

The entire process of providing a hairpiece takes about four to six months. After creating a mold of the child’s head, a blend of different hair is hand injected into a skullcap piece nearly 150,000 times for one wig. According to Locks of Love’s national Web site, most of the children who apply for a hairpiece are girls.

Locks of Love believe the reason for the high volume of female applicants is the social expectation that girls have hair.

Aside from Locks of Love, teams at Frederick’s Relay for Life participated in other activities throughout the night. To kick off the event, cancer survivors walked the first lap on the track and mingled with other survivors at a Survivor Reception.

To honor those who have passed away from cancer, teams lit candles and listened to bagpiper David Throne at the Luminaria Ceremony.

A silent auction, late night pizza party and square dancing were also available for the teams.

Sunday, Jun. 19, 2005

Area women letting hair down for Locks of Love donations

Approximately 90 or more inches of hair will be donated to Locks of Love, an organization that makes hairpieces for children who have lost their hair because of illness, in a hair-cutting event at this year’s Relay for Life, Aug. 12-13.

This year two Fairview Relay for Life teams, which have been active since last year, are joining forces in fundraising efforts to maximize their impact and fun at this year’s event.

For more than a year, several women on the Early Birds and Lots of Love teams have been growing their hair out to donate to Locks of Love with plans to have a hair-cutting ceremony at Relay for Life.

“About a year and a half ago, a few of us started thinking about growing our hair out to donate to the Locks of Love, which makes wigs for cancer survivors,” said Kim Syth, Lots of Love team captain. “We had about nine total participating. Some of the younger girls couldn’t wait and already got their hair cut, but will still donate it with the rest of us.”

Area beauticians have agreed to donate their services at this year’s event to cut the hair of those who are donating to Locks of Love. Currently, there are still six members who plan to have their hair cut at a scheduled time during the Relay for Life event.

“Anyone else looking to donate hair to the Locks of Love is welcome to join in. You don’t even have to be a part of a team. Just let us know so that we have an idea for those beauticians who are kind enough to donate their services at the Relay for Life,” Syth said.

The two teams have been on the ball since the end of last year’s Relay for Life, actively preparing for this year’s event with fundraising and brainstorming ideas.

“We decided to join forces because the more people, the more exciting it is. We had one team last year with 15 people. This year we had 19, so we decided to have two teams and work together,” Syth said.

The two teams will sell ice cream at “Hamburgers in the Park,” a Fairview event held every other Friday in Sharbono Park starting Friday. In addition to selling ice cream, the teams will hold a yard sale July 8 in the gazebo at Sharbono Park. The team has also organized an art auction.

So far the Fairview teams have successfully raised money through a variety of events, including a yard sale in Williston, a bake sale, and selling Blow-pop suckers and hearts.

They will also be conducting fundraisers in Sidney during the July Jamboree.

The team is continuing the sale of Blow-pop suckers for 25 cents each or five for a $1, and God’s Creation calendars.

Relay for Life event organizers are encouraging people to organize teams now. They hope to keep up the tradition of increasing team numbers from the previous year and increasing the total amount of funds raised for the National Cancer Society. Approximately 60 percent of all funds raised stays in the community as funding for programs for area cancer patients, their families and survivors.

Relay for Life is scheduled Aug. 12-13 from 7 p.m.-7 a.m. at the Sidney High School football field. Teams will be raising funds during the weeks leading up to the event.

Organizers encourage the public to support the fundraising efforts of teams, which in turn supports those in Richland County who have been directly touched by cancer.

Teams consisting of eight to 18 people will create theme camps around the track. Spectators are encouraged to come see the traditionally zany encampments and the luminary ceremony, which will feature photographs on a large over-head screen of those people honored on the luminaries.

Sunday, Jun. 12, 2005

Cancer fight grows $300,000 stronger after Relay for Life

The tents have been packed away and the walkers have gone home, but the 2005 American Cancer Society Relays for Life in Porter County aren’t quite over.

At closing ceremonies Saturday morning, both committees announced record-setting totals but cautioned that donations and matching funds will continue to flow in for several weeks.

Serenaded by the Great Lakes Sound Chorus of the Sweet Adelines, two dozen walkers from the handful of remaining teams circled the track at the Porter County Expo Center for the final hour.

That included a lone Klingon in full battle dress, striding in the morning sun as the rest of the team from MAV Firesword, an area Star Trek club, struck camp.

“We had somebody on the track all night, including our survivor,” said Maquis Admiral Be’jen, the persona of Cindy Faraone of South Haven.

Also among the last groups to leave was Team Aldi, with about half a dozen of its 42 members sticking it out to the end.

“The rest are home sleeping. Everybody walked a half-hour to an hour,” said Skip James of Valparaiso. He said he did a double shift, walking from 1 to 3 a.m.

Individual and committee fund-raising activities continued throughout the 18-hour relay, but one of the most welcome donations came from Mother Nature and didn’t count in the dollar total, according to event chair Jen Abatie.

“We had a storm coming in about 7 p.m. last night. The wind turned; it got cold; and we had dust devils at one end of the track. Then it just disappeared all of a sudden, and there was this beautiful rainbow left,” she said.

She said the combination of heat and humidity hadn’t taken any toll among the walkers.

“We went through a ton of water, more than ever before,” she said.

The perfunctory closing ceremony consisted of Abatie reading the numbers: 42 teams, 1,125 walkers, and net donations of more than $119,000, just passing last year’s relay-day total.

That total will continue to grow for three or four weeks, Abatie said.

Relay officials voiced appreciation for the use of the fairgrounds.

“This venue has been ideal. (Lonnie) Steele and the Fair Board have been very accommodating,” media chairman George Kuehler said.

A more elaborate ceremony closed the relay at Willowcreek High School in Portage, where more than 100 participants gathered in the entertainment tent at the finish line for the presentation of awards and announcement of totals.

“You have a spectacular event here,” said Jim Puente, executive director of the ACS Northwest Indiana service center.

Team chairman Mark Jones said a most-ever 56 teams had raised slightly less than $175,000, this year’s goal, and the committee had yet to count corporate matching funds.

Once again, school teams dominated the fund-raising, with Portage’s Central and Kyle elementaries topping the list at $11,000 and $8,360, respectively.

A first-time entry, the team from the River Forest Schools, placed second at $8,400.

In fifth was South Haven Elementary at just more than $7,000, edging Portage Township rival Saylor Elementary by $200. Ten teams exceeded $4,300 each.

The Portage High School Indianettes were first in laps walked, with 2,178, and also took the Spirit and Pacesetter awards.

Walking in memory of his late wife, John McClure was individual leader with 120 laps.

Picking up the Creativity Award for their campsite decorations were Cindy’s Stompers, a team from the Valparaiso Wal-Mart that walked in Portage because it’s the home of the team leader, Jones said.

Cancer never sleeps

Patrick Healy heard about the American Cancer Society’s annual fundraiser a few years ago, but he participated for the first time this year to celebrate a decade of surviving prostate cancer.

“I always wanted to come,” the Nanuet resident said. “But this year I said we’re coming no matter what. It’s my 10-year anniversary, so it has a little significance.”

Healy joined his family, friends and more than 2,000 supporters yesterday at the ACS’ eighth annual Relay for Life, a 24-hour event that tries to raise awareness and funds for cancer research and to promote education and advocacy programs for cancer patients.

The event, held at Clarkstown North High School’s track and football field, honored and remembered cancer survivors and victims who died from the disease.

“It’s an overnight event that goes along with the theme that cancer never sleeps,” said Steve Baron, a co-chairman of the event and Wesley Hills resident. “It’s always in our face day and night, and we’ll do anything to get a cure for it.”

About 70 teams representing local schools, churches, hospitals, businesses and other organizations walked, ran or jogged around the track throughout the day, and members of each team planned to take turns around the track all night until this morning.

The program includes raffles, prizes for teams who raised the most money or showed the most team spirit, a disc jockey spinning hits all day, food, games and carnival rides for children, and memorial ceremonies. Cancer survivors were to walk the survivors’ lap, and, at night, a luminaria ceremony was to include a silent lap as 5,000 candles for survivors and victims lined the track.

The word “Hope” would be spelled out in candles on the bleachers, said Marsha Silberman, an event co-chairman and Wesley Hills resident.

Healy, who came with his wife, Jody, and two daughters, walked laps with the Healy’s Heroes team. He said he looked forward to the candlelight vigil.

“Everybody can relate to it in some way,” he said. “Cancer doesn’t have to be the end. There’s hope, and in the future there will be more advances and more cures.”

His daughter, Kaitlyn, 6, said she also walked around the track.

“I came for my daddy,” she said, her lips red from an Italian ice she ate. She said she was excited to play Frisbee, jump in the balloon castle and get her face painted.

Colleen Hand, 14, of Blauvelt participated in the relay with her Girl Scout troop to honor her grandfather, who died from lung cancer in April.

“If you realize how many people come, and they’re all helping each other a lot by raising money and working together, a lot of people can connect with you,” she said as she blew bubbles at the children’s activities tent.

Janice Belasco, a reading teacher at Lime Kiln Elementary, survived breast cancer. She walked the track yesterday with her friends and supporters from school who called their team the Lime Kiln Life Savers.

“It’s like a celebration that’s so incredible to be a part of,” said Belasco, a Bardonia resident who wore a “survivor” sash as she walked around the track. “There’s hope out there if you should ever be diagnosed with this disease, but we should never forget those who lost the battle.”

Inside Good News Blog