Perrysburg gears up for Relay for Life

PERRYSBURG – The community is invited to join the campaign to fight cancer this Friday and Saturday at
the 12th annual Perrysburg Relay for Life.
The ’80s-themed event, which commemorates 25 years of American Cancer Society relay programs, begins 5
p.m. in the Perrysburg High School gymnasium, 13385 Roachton Road, and continues through the night until
10:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Programming throughout the night will include the Survivors Lap, a
candlelight ceremony and a bevy of entertainment options for participants of all ages.
The local relay committee hopes to avoid any possible inclement weather by moving the event inside this
year.
"From our standpoint, it was a no-brainer and we spoke to the school and the school absolutely
jumped on board," said Bob Bidwell, who co-chairs the Perrysburg relay event with Jessica Bebe.
Although it’s too late to register a new team, members of the public can join any existing team or make
donations at the event.
The American Cancer Society has implemented the Relay for Life activity in local communities through the
nation, and now internationally, to offer those communities a chance to join the battle against cancer.
In addition to its fundraising components, relay events nationally involve more than 3.5 million people
each year to celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost to cancer and to strike a blow against
the disease, according to the ACS Web site.
Although no specific amount of fundraising is required, ACS recommends each participant sets a personal
goal of $100. Members from fundraising teams – often comprised of members from churches, businesses and
schools as well individuals who support relay efforts – will take shifts on the track during the course
of the 17-hour event. About 24 teams have registered for this year’s event.
With few restrictions, teams are encouraged to raise money for the cancer society in any manner they
prefer. "Really the sky’s the limit," Bidwell said. As a result, money will come to the cancer
society through a wide variety of activities – from car washes and massages to carnivals and cookie
sales.
All proceeds from fundraising activities prior to and during the event will go directly toward ACS, and
about 60 percent of that money will be channeled to local resources to fight cancer.
The fundraising goal for the Perrysburg relay has been set at $90,000. "But with the economy the way
it is, we’re hoping to be in the $60,000-70,000 range," Bidwell said.
Entertainment activities kick off at 5 on Friday and last until the program wraps up the following
morning. In addition to a robust offering of DJs and musical groups, there are scheduled physical
activities, contests and screenings of ’80s movies and television shows to engage participants at all
hours during the event. Some of the more creative activities include: a contest for the Best Dressed
’80s and Big Hair title; a Ms. Relay Pageant, in which male participants are encouraged to get
"dolled up" and promenade on stage; and a runway contest in which teams will design and model
stunning outfits by using only newspaper and duct tape.
Between 5 and 6 p.m., a survivors meal will be served to individuals who have registered. Opening
ceremonies will occur at 6 p.m., and children’s activities last from 7-9 that evening.
From 5-9 Friday night, the Perrysburg Exchange Club will sell hamburgers, hot dogs and other picnic
items. All proceeds, of course, will go toward the relay’s fundraising efforts.
The luminaria ceremony begins at 9:45 p.m. Friday. Names of cancer survivors or loved ones who were lost
to the disease are written on the white paper lanterns, which may be purchased until 8:30 p.m. for $10
each. They will be placed in a "luminaria garden" prior to the ceremony. At that time,
participants will walk through the long path of candles to remember the individuals whose names appear
on the lanterns.
This ceremony may represent the heart of the event, according to Bidwell.
"I’m telling you, you can hear a pin drop," he said of the solemn candlelight walk.
Activities continue throughout the night and culminate with the closing ceremony around 10:30 on Saturday
morning.
For more information about the event, contact the American Cancer Society at (888) 227-6446.