Relay entertainment set

Published 8:36 pm Saturday, May 2, 2015

Hundreds of people participate in Relay For Life every year to join in the fight against cancer.

That’s the reason they’re there. But what to do with them once they get there? That’s a job that has fallen to this year’s entertainment chairs, Tara Barone and Andrea Breckner.

Both have been closely touched by cancer. Breckner is a cancer survivor herself and has lost family members and a close friend to the disease. Barone lost her uncle to cancer.

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“It’s just a charity that’s near and dear to my heart,” Breckner said. “They help people with research and with local programs, including several programs that helped me when I was going through cancer.”

Breckner has become gradually more involved in Relay, and she got so excited about helping with last year’s Relay that she was asked to help out again this year.

Barone has relayed for two or three years now, and this is her first year on the committee.

“I’m really excited I’m able to commit more of my time to it,” she said.

The two have planned a variety of things to keep folks entertained at Relay.

“There’s lots of different ups and downs in the Relay,” Breckner said. “We have the luminaria ceremony, opening ceremony and survivor walks, caregivers’ lap, things that are very serious, but then we also have the times where we really celebrate life. You have to celebrate the abundance that we do have.”

Planned activities include themed laps, such as a “glow lap” where participants will carry glow sticks, physical activity demonstrations including Zumba and martial arts, a scavenger hunt, an array of musicians, a talent show, cornhole and “Minute to Win It”-type games.

This year’s theme, “There’s no place like hope,” evokes the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz,” and it’s not lost on Barone and Breckner as they plan activities, which will include a field of poppies donated by a local nursery. There will be no flying monkeys, but flying doves — released in honor or in memory of someone affected by cancer — are on the agenda.

“Entertainment is one of the biggest things we work for at Relay,” Barone said. “It’s really important to keep people entertained for 12 to 14 hours. We have to keep people awake and entertained to participate throughout the entire night.”

The “awake” part can be difficult sometimes, as the event lasts overnight — from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. May 16-17 this year. A sunrise service is planned for the end of the event.

“Cancer doesn’t sleep,” Breckner said. The sunrise service, she added, “will be nice to wrap up the whole event and send people off with hope.”

There’s still time to sign up to participate in Relay, which will be held at Bennett’s Creek Park, 3000 Bennetts Creek Park Road. Visit for more information.