06/22/12  Plans, dollars, donations—they’re all falling into place for the big all-night Marshall County Relay for Life event Sat., June 23 in Centennial Park by the tennis courts. The first official lap, and one of the most inspiring, is the ‘Survivor Lap’ at 6 p.m. following opening ceremonies. The event concludes with closing ceremonies at 6 a.m. Sunday morning. But you don’t have to put on any miles to help out.

The committee is encouraging the community to come out for an evening of fun–take an hour, several or, if you’re up to it, all night. Music, activities for adults and kids, lots of food, silent auction and lots of surprises are in store.

The event is the culmination of months of work and dedication of volunteers to raise dollars for cancer research. The goal this year is a challenging $63,000. Fundraising has become a year-round effort with the second Bark for Life last October, Port-a-Pit chicken sales, a myriad of bake sales and garage sales and eating pizza, booths at the Farmers’ Market and dining out at Bob Evans. Monies raised stay in this area to help with all kinds of support and to fund cancer researchers as close as Notre Dame.

Luminaries are not only a fundraiser but a way of memorializing someone lost or honoring a brave survivor. This year in consideration of the burn ban, instead of sand and candles in the decorated bags, glow sticks will be used. To circle the track, 700 are needed which will be placed by the Boy Scouts as they’ve done for many years. At 10 p.m., the moving ‘Luminaria Ceremony’ will take place with the darkness illuminated only by the lighted bags encircling the track and the word ‘HOPE’ at the top of the hill—all in caps.

It’s not too late to remember a friend or loved one. Bags will be decorated throughout the evening until the lighting. Call Becky Milliser at 930-6005 for more information.

The silent auction has been getting a lot of attention with donations from teams and community businesses. Many of the items are in The Pilot News window. Bidding starts at 7 and continues until 11:30 with successful bidders announced at 12:30. If you can’t stay, you’ll get a call. It’s not too late to donate an item. Call Janet Newman at 842-2754 to make a donation.

Many members of the teams this year will walk and walk and walk. No matter the hour, someone will be circling the track. Cancer doesn’t sleep nor will they. If you want to walk, fun laps are planned throughout—pinwheel, bubbles, favorite boots, flashlight and ‘Purple/Purple/Purple’, reflecting this year’s theme.

Kid’s activities will be ongoing starting with a Taekwondo demonstration at 7:30. Face painting begins at 6 sponsored by Cancer Sucks and a dunk tank will afford some fun and fundraising for Clueless Wonders.

“Do we have to stay? Walk?” folks ask. No, just come for an hour of fun, food and camaraderie.

For a complete schedule of all the happenings, log on to the American Cancer Society website at www.relayforlife.org/marshallcountyin.  It’s not too late to join a team, check out fundraisers or make a donation.

Call Chair Rob Mohnacky (904-6313), Terri Biddle (209-4757), Becky Milliser (930-6005), Marika Kunder (546-5709) or Trisha Metz, ACS Representative (800-227-2345) for more information.

Lyn Ward Correspondent