Relay for Life begins fundraisers

Published 11:07 pm Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fundraisers are being kicked-off and the first few dollars are trickling in to help wage the war against cancer.

This year, organizers are putting their heads together, and the wheels are already turning for the May 14 Relay for Life. As of Tuesday evening, at its team captain meeting, there were more than 40 teams, which have raised $32,000.

“Things are rolling,” Ray Bennett, chairman of the Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life, said. “We’re making good headway. Right now, we have our team captains and are motivating for fundraisers and laying down guidelines.”

Suffolk’s Rockin’ Relay for Life is part of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, which has 3 million volunteers worldwide. Overnight relays are held in 18 different countries to raise funds for research and the fight against cancer.

Suffolk’s Relay differentiates itself from the others by incorporating rocking chairs — a feature of the original Suffolk relay in 1981 — to allow those who cannot walk the distance to participate.

Last year, Suffolk volunteers raised $189,989 — short of their $220,000 goal — with 54 teams and 632 participants. This year’s goal is $212,000.

“Considering we lost a lot of our ‘big sponsors’ last year, we pulled it together by doing more fundraisers and working that much harder,” Bennett said.

Three months before the Relay, fundraisers for this year are already under way and include a breakfast at Grits and Gravy, the Caffeine Commandos’ cookbook, a short walk in Wakefield, a motorcycle ride and the selling of raffle tickets for a GMC Terrain.

Volunteer Krista Riddick is also leading a strong effort at Main Street Methodist Day Care, where some teachers have been diagnosed with cancer. To support their teachers, the whole school has come on board and has collected nearly 400 donations already.

“The kids are so excited about it,” Riddick said. “They’re all about it, and — of course — the competition always helps.”

Keep an eye out at your place of business, school and locations all over Suffolk for the Rockin’ Relay for Life posters, which have information on how to join a team. Team captains are looking for people to sign-up.

To secure at $5 ticket to the Grits and Gravy breakfast on March 20 call 538-6252 or 538-5662. To purchase the Caffeine Commandos’ cookbook for only $10, call Lynn Carroll at 538-5652. And to participate in Wakefield’s two-mile Community Walk for Breast Cancer, which has a $10 sign-up fee, contact Sandy Stringfield at 556-0592.

All proceeds from all fundraisers go toward the Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life.