Get aboard East Gainesville Relay for Life


Members of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of East Gainesville during a team meeting.

AIDA MALLARD/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 2:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 2:49 p.m.

Do your part in the fight against cancer while socializing, making new friends and being entertained by Gainesville artists at the 2013 American Cancer Society Relay for Life of East Gainesville.

Facts

RELAY FOR LIFE

What: Teams are wanted for the 6th annual Relay for Life of East Gainesville.
When: Event is 6 p.m. May 3-noon May 4.
Where: Howard Bishop Middle School track, 1901 NE 9th St.
Information: Call 352-240-5055 or email connie.criswell@cancer.org.

All you need to do is get 10 friends, family members or co-workers together to form a team.

Now in its sixth year, the relay will take place from 6 p.m. May 3 until noon May 4 at the track at Howard Bishop Middle School at 1901 NE 9th St.

Yvette Carter, team development chairwoman of the East Gainesville relay, said the Relay for Life movement is a signature event of the American Cancer Society to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and raise awareness and money.

Currently, there are about 30 teams participating, but the goal is to have 40 to 50 teams.

"It's a festival/carnival-like atmosphere with music and food," said Carter. "It's not heavy or sad."

Carter said the East Gainesville relay will be an overnight event with teams of people camping out and taking turns walking or running around the Bishop track, with each team having a representative on the track at all times.

This year, the Eastside High School cheerleaders will be on hand to cheer and encourage team members as they take turns on the track.

"This is a community event and the teams should be all that represents community," said Carter, adding that the teams can come from churches, businesses, organizations, sororities, fraternities, friends, family members and others.

To participate, each team must pay a $100 registration fee. Then, each team raises money for the American Cancer Society. Carter said any amount can be raised, but most teams raise between $1,000-$2,500.

To register a team or to join an existing team, go to Google and type in "2013 Relay for Life of East Gainesville." Then click on "2013 Relay for Life of East Gainesville," followed by "Sign Up" and then "Start a New Team" or "Join An Existing Team." Those interested also can sign up to walk the survivor lap and/or the caregiver lap.

Michelle Dix, chairwoman of the Relay for Life of East Gainesville, said it's important for the community to come together to support the Relay for Life, which provides funding for research, education, advocacy and services.

"Knowledge is power," Dix said. "You learn what you have to do to be healthy, and those who have cancer, they can get the services and support though the American Cancer Society."

Carter said there are infinite ways — as large as the imagination — to raise money.

Carter said some teams use social media sites to ask for donations, while others have bake sales, garage sales, car washes, and other fundraising events. She said teams can raise funds up to the night of the event. Teams can turn in money at team parties leading up to the event or on the night of the event.

Upcoming team parties will be held at 6 p.m. April 8 and also April 29 at the GRU administration building at 301 SE 4th Ave.

Since its inception in 2008, Carter said the Relay for Life of East Gainesville has raised about $200,000.

Carter said the spotlight of the evening is on the survivors. "They're the kings and queens of the evening," Carter said. "They get a special dinner and open the ceremony by taking the first lap on the track."

Carter said the community is encouraged to come and be a part of this community event.

"I don't know of anyone who hasn't been touched by cancer," Carter said. "If you're looking for a worthy cause, the Relay for Life of East Gainesville is where you want to be on May 3."

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