Relay almost here

Published 10:16 pm Saturday, May 7, 2011

Relay: Survivors take the traditional first lap around the track at last year’s Relay for Life. This year’s event, to be held Friday and Saturday, already is breaking records for participation and money raised.

With the Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life now less than a week away, event organizers are looking forward to the big day with anticipation.

“Everything is on track,” said Anne Barclay, community manager for the American Cancer Society. “We have so many wonderful things and so many new teams.”

The Relay has 67 teams registered — seven more than last year — and is more than halfway to its $202,250 goal.

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But Barclay wants people to remember it’s not all about the money. Relay is also about honoring survivors and remembering those who died from cancer.

“We want survivors and their caregivers to come,” Barclay said. “It’s not too late to RSVP for the dinner. We want everyone to bring their families.”

There are 1,012 participants registered this year, up from 706 last year. At this time last year, Relay had $70,742 in the bank; this year’s total so far is $128,000.

The Relay will be held at Bennett’s Creek Park from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday. Survivor and team registration begin at 5 p.m.

This year’s event features a number of new, special laps, including a kids’ lap, skateboard lap, pajama lap, backwards lap and limbo contest lap. The skateboard lap is a tribute to the new skate spot at Bennett’s Creek Park, as well as one team that’s made up of skateboarders. And yes, Barclay said, walkers will be doing the limbo as they make the rounds of the track.

Other activities include a cornhole tournament, egg race, children’s readers’ theater and more.

A team made up of service-learning class students from Lakeland will operate the children’s activities for the night. Musical entertainment throughout the event will include James River Jazz Band, Island Boy, Reform School Dropouts and a disc jockey.

Mr. Peanut will be in attendance, as will a number of new food vendors, including Chick-fil-A, Subway, Hawaiian Ice Company, ColdStone Creamery and the Boy Scouts grilling hamburgers and hot dogs.

Of course, Relay staples like the survivors’ and caregivers’ laps and reception and the emotional luminaria ceremony are in the schedule, as well.

Barclay said she is looking forward to the event.

“It’s just a great way to come out and celebrate and learn how you can fight back,” she said.