|Relay for Life kicks off Friday|
|Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor|
|Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:21|
The 2013 Southern Wood County Relay for Life is being held this weekend in Bowling Green. The local relay, one of many planned across the country, will take place at the Bowling Green High School track.
The event begins Friday afternoon and continues through a formal closing ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society's signature fundraising event of the year. This year's relay will be especially memorable because the society is currently celebrating 100 years of fighting cancer.
At the 6 p.m. opening ceremony, Bowling Green's Abby Paskvan will perform the National Anthem. The organizers thank sponsors, introduce the 2013 Honorary Survivor and Honorary Caregiver, and all of the cancer survivors lead off a lap around the track, followed by the teams that are supporting the relay and the fight against cancer.
The packed schedule includes live and silent auctions and the emotional high point, a 10 p.m. luminaria ceremony "where we remember those that have lost their fight against cancer and honor those who are survivors and continuing their fight," noted Frederic Matthews, relay co-chairman.
"It is an especially moving event. We line the track with luminaria - candle-lit containers which bear the names of survivors, caregivers and those that have lost their battle." The luminaria can be requested up until 9:30 that night for a $10 donation.
"As part of our opening ceremony we generally have an honorary survivor and caregiver. This year organizers have selected as the honorary survivor Cindy Zwierlein and her husband Ron Zwierlein as the honorary caregiver. They are local residents and Ron was the former athletic director at Bowling Green State University."
The couple will share with those in attendance the story of Cindy's ongoing fight against a fairly rare form of cancer.
"I have multiple myeloma and it is not curable," she said of the diagnosis she received early in 2011.
"I get my treatments here in Bowling Green" and she has high praise for the medical service providers associated with Wood County Hospital.
In the fall of 2011 year Cindy Zwierlein had a stem cell transplant at the Cleveland Clinic. The cancer society picked up all the costs for her three-week stay at the Hope Lodge, locate a mile from the clinic. "My husband stayed seven weeks.
"The only cost to living there is to buy your groceries; everything else is provided. It's pretty amazing."
Zwierlein will also be talking about the importance of her own support groups.
"Some people do not have that to fall back on. I want people to know you can call the American Cancer Society and they will provide that for you," she said.
Following the Zwierleins' talk, Shad Ridenour will be returning to do the live auction at 7 p.m.
Among the top items for bidding are several homemade quilts, a 32-inch television, a catered steak picnic for 20 people, a patio swing, an Art-A-Site piece of art, two trees donated by Penta County, furniture pieces and much more.
"We also have a silent auction which is supported by many local merchants including Ace Hardware, Sockmans, Aarons, Stone Ridge Golf Club, Grounds For Thought, Revolv Salon, BG Hats & Apparel, and a Villagio Hair Studio Gift Basket," said Matthews. "Most all of the local restaurants, pizza stores and businesses make donations."
Also scheduled are lots of fun activities to get people through the night, including a team pizza party, "Project Runway," silly slipper and crazy hat theme laps. At 8 p.m. organizers will put on the popular Ms. Relay Pageant where men, dressed as women, compete for the title of Ms. Relay. The winner is determined by how much money the contestant can raise in a short period of time for the fight against cancer.
"We will have a live band, Son Of Dad, providing music for the contestants and to entertain the crowd until just before the luminaria ceremony starts," said Matthews.
Breakfast at 7 a.m. will be sponsored by Wood County Hospital and Starbucks. There will also be a scavenger hunt organized by Gretchen Avery.
On Saturday morning at 10:30 Jerry Anderson of Channel 11 will be guest auctioneer for an auction of as many as a dozen baskets of goodies containing products, services and fun activities.
For more information about this weekend's Relay for Life, contact Matthews at (419) 354-4442.
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