Sleepless In Arnold: Gearing Up For The 2012 Relay For Life
By Meredith Thompson
Photo courtesy of Gail Griffin
Picture hundreds of cancer survivors and supporters walking side-by-side for 14 hours of fun, festivities and fundraising for a cancer-free future. The annual Relay For Life of Arnold/Annapolis is just around the corner, and the time to form teams and raise money is now.
The relay, which will begin at 5:00pm at the Anne Arundel County fairgrounds the evening of May 18, will raise money for the American Cancer Society, and has been an Arnold tradition for over 15 years. Friends, families, coworkers, school groups, sports teams and church groups are gearing up for the race, forming teams of 8-15 members to raise money and participate in the relay.
Event coordinators are encouraging all members of the community to get involved. Everyone knows someone who has been touched by this disease, highlighted Kim Gramza, event chair for the relay.
The easiest way for teams to raise money is simply through asking relayers can write letters or send emails requesting friends, family and coworkers to help them fight cancer. Hot money makers are restaurant fundraiser nights, coin jars, theme dinners, car washes, bake sales really, the sky is the limit! said Gramza. We have some very creative and clever fundraising opportunities.
Cancer never sleeps, and neither do the relayers at Arnolds annual event. A Mardi Gras-themed party, magicians, face painters, bands and themed laps including patriotic, pajama, girls only and boys only leave walkers little time to sleep or take a break from celebrating survivors, remembering those affected by cancer, and fighting back.
Cancer survivors are the heart of each relay, and are invited to attend a free catered dinner with one guest, after which they will take a victory lap during the opening ceremonies. The dinner provides a unique opportunity for survivors to meet, share stories, and celebrate their victory over cancer.
Following the opening ceremony and survivor lap, a luminaria ceremony and moment of silence will be held after sundown, during which hundreds of lit candles will line the walking path, each representing an individual life touched by cancer.
Last year, over 125 teams and 1400 people attended the relay, and collectively raised over $275,000. Cancers tireless assault on those in the community and abroad offers boundless incentive for participating: according to Gramza, one in four people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Every minute, someone dies from the disease, but the money raised through Relay For Life saves 350 lives each day.
Why do I relay? asked Gramza, answering, Why wouldnt I! There are so many people in my life who have been touched by this disease, and I have to do something to fight, she said, alluding to her close friend Suzy and her stepfather, who is a multiple-cancer survivor still undergoing treatment.
Along with Gramza, the team of volunteers that produces the Arnold relay works around the clock coordinating participants, sponsors and donors simply because they want to make a difference.
Those who wish to participate in the relay are encouraged to sign up and start fundraising now, but registration is open through the day of the event and walk-ins are welcome. The cost of registration is $10.
For more information, or to sign up for the fight against cancer, visit www.relayforlife.org/arnold.