Relay to switch back to Friday

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The 2016 Suffolk Relay For Life will switch back to a Friday start after this year’s change to Saturday wasn’t well-reviewed.

“What we learned in Suffolk is that change isn’t always good,” said Heather Howell, one of last year’s leaders.

Officials had hoped the change would boost attendance, because most people wouldn’t have to rush to the event straight from work. But it proved to have the opposite effect.

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The number of participants and fundraising actually went down, but it was still a great year, Howell said.

“We still had the best time, and we had great weather,” she noted during Monday’s wrap-up event, where sponsors, team captains and top fundraisers were honored.

The Relay is roughly $11,000 short of its goal, reported Relay Community Manager Chelsea Peoples. She said she feels confident that the goal will be reached by the time the Relay’s fundraising year ends on Aug. 31.

Another change next year is that the survivor reception, usually held at Relay immediately after the survivor’s lap, will be held offsite on a different day next year.

“We want to make it a fantastic event so we can minimize disruptions,” Howell said.

It will be held on Wednesday, May 18, at the Planters Club. The Relay will be held two days later, on May 20.

In addition, survivors will be able to pay $5 and bring an additional caregiver to the event. It is free for a survivor plus one caregiver, which has long been the standing rule for financial reasons.

However, Howell, said, “There’s rarely a situation a survivor has just one caregiver.”

The additional caregiver will be allowed only if registered in advance, Howell said.

Among the many sponsors honored on Monday, Howell especially recognized the city of Suffolk.

“Relay For Life of Suffolk would not be as successful as it is, if even possible, without the city of Suffolk,” Howell said. She noted that the use of Bennett’s Creek Park is provided for free, while Relays in other nearby cities have to pay for their venues.

The awards handed out Monday were:

Top Fundraising Participants:

  • First place — Lynda Carroll of Team Caffeine Commandos
  • Second place — Zevetha Burr of Team Walmart 1682 Hope on the Move
  • Third place — Pat Cary of Team Creekside
  • Top fundraising team — City of Suffolk
  • Top fundraising family and friends team — Team Riverfront
  • Top fundraising school team — Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Top fundraising corporate team — 1 Foot 2 Foot
  • Top fundraising church team — Tabernacle Christian Church
  • Top fundraising new team — In Doug’s Memory
  • Largest friends and family team — Warren’s Warriors
  • Largest church team — Tabernacle Christian Church
  • Largest school team — Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
  • Largest corporate team — Walmart