Teams will take to the track set up around the Oakdale High School soccer fields this weekend, but they won’t be looking to put any goals in the net.
Instead, they will be reaching for a different kind of goal – the goal of celebrating more birthdays.
The 11th annual Relay For Life of Oakdale will start with opening ceremonies on Saturday, April 28 at 8:30 a.m. and the Survivor Lap officially starts the 24-hour American Cancer Society Relay For Life at 9 a.m.
Caregivers follow, with the rest of the teams sending members to join the walkers after that.
Throughout the 24-hour period, wrapping up with a closing ceremony on Sunday morning, April 29, there will be entertainment, festive theme laps and activities, special events for both cancer survivors and their caregivers, the evening luminaria ceremony to remember those lost and honor those who have survived and continue to battle the disease. Teams will host a variety of fundraising activities at their booths, some with food and beverage sales, some with games, others with opportunity baskets and merchandise for sale.
“As of right now, we have 849 registered participants, 56 teams,” said 2012 Relay Chairperson Heather Murray late Tuesday morning. “We have raised $106,589 so far.”
That amount reflects money brought in by individual team members and through team and group fundraisers, in addition to the sales of the luminaria bags that will light the track for walkers throughout the night.
Relay For Life raises money for the fight against cancer, while also supporting patient services and educational and research and advocacy efforts. Teams keep one member on the track at all times throughout the 24-hour period, reflecting the fact that “Cancer Never Sleeps.”
For Murray, who lost her mother to the disease, it is a personal quest to help find a cure. It is the same for many participants, as they have watched family and friends battle.
“Hopes are for a beautiful day so our survivors and caregivers can enjoy the celebration,” Murray said. “I’m looking forward to seeing all the participants in their relay shirts, walking throughout the 24 hours in hopes of finding a cure.”
Teams are comprised of local businesses, clubs, families, school groups and just teams of friends, coming together to join the fight.
Cancer survivors are encouraged to come for the opening ceremonies and join in the Survivor lap, wearing their special purple Survivor shirts, and stay for as long as they want, with food, beverages and special treats offered all day long at the Survivor tent. There is also a special emphasis this year for Caregivers, and they will be treated to some pampering as well for their role in helping those fighting the disease.
All in the community are welcome; you do not have to be on a team to come and see what Relay For Life is all about. Festivities start at the OHS soccer fields at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.