Organizers revamping Relay for Life of Chillicothe

Marianne Gillespie
mgillespie@timestoday.com

Volunteers are changing up the annual Relay For Life of Chillicothe.

“We need a refresher,” Mallory Audo, staff partner for the American Cancer Society, said.

Coupled with hot summers, participants have declined the last few years at the annual event at the Illinois Valley Central High School track.

Organizers aim to change that this year as both the hours and location are different.

Instead of the normal overnight event with residents camping out on the grounds at Illinois Valley Central High School, this year’s Relay will be a six-hour event, beginning at 4 p.m.

Instead of walking around the high school track, the sidewalk loop around Santa Fe Park will be the path Relayers will take to raise their funds.

“One in every 100 Americans participates in this fundraising event that has become a global phenomenon,” said Cheri Schumacher, Relay For Life event chairwoman through a press release. “Everything we do at Relay For Life contributes to reducing cancer mortality and incidences, whether it’s raising dollars that support free patient programs and services, research or volunteering to commit to advocacy and education efforts — we’re all a part of the fight and we need the community’s help.”

The regular events will continue with the opening survivor lap to kick off the night. Instead of a dinner after their lap, survivors will gather for a cake and punch reception. Twenty survivors already are signed up to participate.

After that, regular activities will continue with team and wacky laps, and a Fight Back ceremony, which allows participants to set a personal goal.

Organizers also want to offer more for the youth to do.

“We’re focusing more on a family fun night,” Audo said.

Along with children’s activities, anyone who gets too hot always has the option to cool off in the splashpad at the park as well.

Like previous years, the grill will be fired up with food options for those needing a bite to eat.

With a theme of “Finish the Fight,” the 12th annual event will offer bounce houses, water and carnival games, as well as other entertainment.

Teams can be comprised of many people as wanted and cost $100 to register.

The 5K Glow Run is continuing this year at 8 p.m., and will follow a similar route as Pearce’s Run for the Health of It, except that it is beginning at Santa Fe Park.

Runners can sign up online at www.chillicothe5kglowrun.eventbrite.com. Early registration is $25. After May 31, registration is $30. All the proceeds go to Relay For Life of Chillicothe.

For more information about the event or to sign up, call Schumacher at 231-3712 or visit www.relayforlife.org/chillicotheil.