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10th anniversary of Relay for Life

Published May 13. 2011 05:00PM

They'll have an extra kick in their step as they lap around the track in their quest to slay the dragon known as cancer.

This year's Relay For Life of Palmerton and Surrounding Areas will be held from May 21-22 at the Palmerton Area High School stadium at 325 Fireline Road.

The 24-hour event starts at 10 a.m. May 21 and ends at 10 a.m. May 22. This year marks the 10th anniversary for the Palmerton-based event.

Chris Borger, publicity chair, said the theme of this year's Relay is "Cancer Loses When Everyone Plays to Win." She said the goal this year is to raise $90,000.

The event will include a Celebration of Survivors, a Luminaria Service to Remember those lost to cancer, and a Fight Back Ceremony.

"The ceremonies are so meaningful," Borger said. "Cancer has touched everyone's life; some more ways than others."

The event with start with an opening ceremony that will include the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner" by PAHS student Lydia Anthony, followed by an opening prayer by Vicky Smith.

At 1 p.m., A Parade of Teams will lead off the Fight Back ceremony led by Sandy Benson and Sharon Krebs, the Relay's Advocacy co-chairs.

The Survivor's Celebration begins at 5 p.m., with Lois Strohl, Sue Eckhart and Cheryl Haas. Also at that time, survivors with caregivers will take the first lap, while a survivor/caregiver reception will immediately follow.

The Luminaria Remembrance Ceremony will begin at 9 p.m., and will include opening remarks by Tina Hill and Donna Parsons as soloist. Caregivers and survivors will lead the first lap after the ceremony, while all others who attend are to join in afterward.

Borger said the ceremonies "carry that theme of celebrating those who are fighting the fight, remembering those we have lost to the fight and fighting back against cancer."

The event will also feature a Zumba Demonstration by Julie Stroup from Dedicated Fitness; face painting by Girls Scout Troop #3583; alligator wrestling; a scavenger hunt and Ringo the Flamingo, as well as a cake/snack walk.

The traditional Ms. Royal Relay contest begins at 11 p.m., as this year's contest will be emceed by Tammy Recker.

Survivors not already registered for the event may do so from 4-6 p.m. May 21 at no charge. Luminaria, in honor or memory of a loved one, will be available for purchase from 11 a.m. to to 6 p.m. May 21.

The event is free and open to the public, and all survivors are welcome to attend the survivor reception and ceremony, said Borger, who added that all money raised goes to research, education, advocacy, and local patient services.

Relay For Life is an American Cancer Society event, she said.

Sponsors include the First National Bank of Palmerton; Balliet & Associates; Country Harvest Family Market, Inc.; Country Junction; First Niagara Bank; Pencor Services, Inc., Blue Ridge Service Center; George's P&H, LLC; Blue Mountain Health System; The Computer Patrol Store; Hager Furniture; Health Network Laboratories; Jet Signs; Lehighton Ford; Palmerton Lumber; Rentschler Chevrolet; Dr.'s Shah, Ahmed, Giangiulio, & Popescu; Shea's Hardware; and Spillane's.

Borger said "cancer has many faces, and challenges people to reach for their strengths, to show their fighting spirit and will to live."

"The Relay for Life event is all about making the world a better place by fighting cancer and, as the ACS slogan says, celebrating More Birthdays," she said. "We hope to see a lot of people at the event, to share a smile, enjoy a song, play a game, and yes, perhaps shed a tear or two."

Teams fundraise all year long in support of the event. Palmerton's Relay for Life the only of its kind in Carbon County was one of 217 community and collegiate events that raised $21.1 million statewide in 2007.

"The Relay For Life event is the crowning touch on a year's worth of work by many who put the event together, and the teams who are out there fundraising all year long," Borger said. "It's a celebration of the accomplishments of so many who care so much, and are working hard to support finding a cure for cancer."

The theme of last year's event was "Celebrating, Remembering, and Fighting Back through the Decades". That event, which had 253 Luminarias, 486 participants, 144 survivors, and a total of 46 teams, raised $83,439.

Over $1 million has been raised since the event formed in Palmerton in 2002.

Anyone with questions may contact Borger at 610-442-6440 for further information.

The first Relay For Life event was held in 1985 in Tacoma, Wash., by Dr. Gordy Klatt, and is the nation's largest overnight, 24-hour, nonprofit walk event.

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