ELYRIA — The sad fact that nationally there are more Relay for Life organizations than there are Walmarts — but the latter is more recognized in our country — is something Bobbie Sears, entertainment chairwoman for Elyria’s 17-year-old Relay for Life, is quick to point out.
Relay for Life, a series of national community events sponsored by the American Cancer Society, is dedicated to giving people a chance to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones they’ve lost and fight back against the disease.
This year’s relay will kick off at 10 a.m. July 8 and run through 7 a.m. July 9 at Elyria Catholic High School Knights of Columbus Stadium track at Gulf Road and Poplar Street.
Teams of volunteers pitch tents and spend the night on the field, participating in an almost 24-hour walk on the track.
“Some are from businesses, some are family and friend teams,” Sears said. “They’re different people that come together for the same cause.”
The relay is only one aspect of the event. The event hosts organize games for kids, talent and karaoke contests, Zumba sessions, live music and a deejay to work throughout the night.
But the central focus at the event is the survivors. Local survivors and their families are invited to come celebrate, and the survivors are asked to kick off the event by taking the first lap of the relay. A free dinner in their honor will be at 5:30 p.m. Luminarias will light up the field at 9 p.m. to honor their fight and that of their fellow warriors who lost the battle against cancer.
Most importantly, all of the funds raised at the event will remain in the community.
“All the money that’s raised in Lorain County stays in Lorain County,” Sears said.
The importance of the event, the organizers stress, is the community feedback loop it creates: The more people who participate, the more money will be raised to give back to Elyria and Lorain County residents in need.
This year’s theme is “Relay Around the World,” with each team dressed to represent a different international locale.
Admission is free and open to the public, and the organization will accept team registrations through the morning of the event.
Lorain County has five Relay for Life teams that host events throughout the year: Elyria, Avon, Avon Lake, Wellington and Oberlin.
Relay for Life Elyria
- WHERE: Elyria Catholic High School Knights of Columbus Stadium track
- WHEN: 10 a.m. July 8 to 7 a.m. July 9
- WHAT: For more information and to register, visit the group’s Facebook page: American Cancer Society Relay For Life — Elyria, Ohio
Contact Emily Kennedy at 329-7243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.