Champaign-Urbana community is a very giving community, amazing people live in C-U. The cities are big enough to offer lots of opportunities and events but small enough to have the small town feel. People want to help one another, people really care. Relay For Life of Champaign County is a family event and addition to this, everyone has been touched in some way by cancer – family, friend, co-worker, neighbor – someone in their life has heard the words, “you have cancer.”
Cancer has struck my family so in 2002 I started a team for Relay. We had 12 members on our team and we all walked an hour so someone was on the track all night long. The next year my daughter’s 4-H Club had a team and we continued for several years with the 4-H Club. About five years ago, we took on task of handling the recycling at the event, hence the team name of Weird Recycling Team evolved. We have been handling the recycling every year since. In 2011, I decided I needed to do more so I joined the Relay For Life of Champaign County committee.
From toilets to surfboards, you have come up with some interesting fundraiser activities. How do you do it?
Creative ideas are so much fun. The American Cancer Society has a fundraising guide which gives many ideas. I have pulled ideas off the Internet and traveled around the area to different Relays to pick up fundraising tips. You see something and you tweak it to fit more of what you want to do and go with it. Lots of fun! The purple toilets brought in over $6,000 for American Cancer Society last year! Surfboards this year were so much fun and businesses were very creative. Come to the event on Saturday, June 8, and the surfboards will be displayed. You can still cast your vote for your favorite design until 8:00 pm. The winner will be announced at 10:00 p.m. (The surfboard which brings in the most money is the winner).
This event is important to me because we have to find a cure for cancer. My mother passed away from this horrible disease – I held her while she died in horrible pain. I have lost aunts, uncles, friends, co-workers to cancer. Just this week a friend’s 2-year-old grandson was diagnosed with leukemia. No one should have to deal with cancer let alone a young child! It just breaks my heart when I hear someone’s story of being told those life-altering three words “you have cancer.” I do not want my daughters to have to deal with cancer in any shape or form so I trying to make a difference.
How can people still get involved in the event?
Yes, people can still get involved – you can register a team – get a group of family, friends, co-workers, people at church, a few neighbors and sign up. You will recevie a campsite. Cancer never sleeps so we’re not either. You can stay all night if you would like or just use your campsite to socialize and have fun. Many people do not stay the whole night and, of course, we would like you to. We have entertainment and fun for 12 hours. But we also say Relay Your Way! However it works in your life is fine, just please come out and join us. Don’t want to sign up just yet, just come to the event, walk the track, play Twister, join the bag tournment, do some Zumba – something all the time is going on or come and volunteer. We have lots of things we can use extra hands for…helping us line the track with bags, running bingo for Survivors, help running games, working in accounting and countless other things. Go to our website www.relayforlife.org/
ChampaignIL and click on some of our quick links for more information.
Come to the Opening Ceremony @ 6:00 p.m. when the Survivors take their lap – truly emotionally. Stay for the luminaria ceremony at 9:00 p.m. – bags line the track with candles it them. They represent someone who has had cancer, currently has cancer or has passed from cancer. The candles are lit and we turn out the lights. The glow from the bags is breathtaking. HOPE and CURE are spelled out in the bleachers – take a silent lap with us as the bag piper plays. Then at 9:30 p.m. our fight back ceremony starts – people with 8 inches or more of hair can have a Survivor cut their hair on stage. The hair is donated to Pantene who makes wigs for cancer patients for FREE. Hair stylists will be on site to “make the haircut” beautiful.
Fathers Day – we always make time to share some handmade gifts. Then we go out to eat with my husband picking out his favorite restaurant. Nice quiet family time is important to us. My oldest daughter was born on Father’s Day, one of the most amazing gifts ever.
We try to make sure we have dinner meals together regularly. But in addition to this, we like to travel to Chicago to see the sites for the weekend by going to museums and watching Broadway plays. We went to see “I Love Lucy” in March and loved it.
Do you know a Chambana mom or dad to know? We love nominations!