The East Wake Relay for Life is a yearlong affair, but every year it crosses a finish line before starting its race toward a cure for cancer all over again.
This year’s finish line is on the horizon, and there are a lot of ways to get involved before the local fundraiser benefiting the American Cancer Society’s research and family support programs climaxes with the May 20-21 Relay at Five County Stadium.
That involvement can come in the form of individuals joining Relay teams or supporting upcoming team fundraisers, or from companies wishing to become sponsors of the local cause.
“We are continuing to look for corporate sponsors at all levels,” said event co-chair Vickie Curtis, “but we continue to look for a signature sponsor for our event – a big signature sponsor. I think what it would say to our community is here we have a business that is will to put their money, so-to-speak, where their mouth is to support this organization at a grassroots level to continue this fight.”
Corporate sponsorships are due March 31. There are several levels of sponsorship ranging from $250 (which will get a company name in the Relay program) to $500 and above (which earns the company a place in both the program and on the back of the event T-shirt).
This year’s Relay will carry a beach theme, “Wave Cancer Goodbye.” Curtis said the Relay event will maintain its carnival-like atmosphere with teams holding activities around the walking track, centered around that theme.
“While we’re excited to have several new teams join us, we’re equally excited to have some of our former teams returning,” Curtis said.
The fundraising goal is $95,000, an amount set based on the $89,000 the local fundraiser produced in 2015.
Honoring those affected
The annual Survivor Dinner is set for April 28 at 6 p.m. in the large fellowship hall at Wendell Baptist. Curtis each year wishes she would get an earlier and greater response from cancer survivors regarding both the dinner and the Relay itself.
“We’re constantly looking to register survivors from the Knightdale, Wendell, Zebulon area because we want to recognize them and honor them,” she said.
There are also opportunities for those wishing to honor survivors, caregivers or someone who has lost their bout with cancer. Luminaria can obtained prior to or at Relay for $10 each, and torches are available for the Hope Garden at Relay for $100.
Both the luminaria and torches come in colors designating whether the honor is for a survivor, caregiver or a lost loved one. Those items can be purchased online at nando.com/3ig or by calling Curtis at 919-210-6888.
A new event this year is Hope Club Night, a reception that will be held at Wendell Baptist Thursday, May 5 from 5:30-7 p.m. It is open to team members who raise $100 for Relay, earning a Hope Club T-shirt – which replaces the shirt team members formerly received by raising $10.
The national Relay for Life theme, “Paint Your World Purple,” is visible on the Hope Club T-shirts.
Bank Night, the last chance for participants to turn in donations before the event, and where team members will get other needed items for the event, is set for 6 p.m. at the church the Thursday before Relay.
“I would just encourage people to watch for fundraisers that teams will hold between now and the Relay in Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon,” Curtis said.
The PACEr’s team plans to hold a spaghetti dinner March 12 at Wakefield Central Baptist Church in Zebulon. The Relay Roadrunners have planned a local golf tournament for April 15. And all teams will sell advance tickets for the Relay at the Park promotion for the Carolina Mudcats’ May 13 home game, with a portion of proceeds going back to the local cause.
Survivors who are interested in attending the Survivor Dinner are asked to contact ACS community partner Nikki Hastings at 919-334-7196. Anyone interested in joining or creating a Relay team, or seeking more information, can call Hastings or Curtis.