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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Relay teams "bank" their bucks for cancer

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This year's Relay for Life T-shirt celebrates 25 years of battling cancer using the Relay formula. Holding up the shirt are Tracy Schallert, at right, Monett Relay chairman, and Emma Fae Ruscha, at left. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
Final preparations are underway for the 14th annual Relay for Life, the community fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. Bank night was held Tuesday, as 26 teams turned in the proceeds from money raising efforts in advance of the main event on Friday, May 1.

"Relay for Life is celebrating 25 years, so in honor of this, the Relay theme is the 1980s," said Tracy Schallert, chairman for this year's event with co-chairman Angie Hooten.

Thursday has been designated by organizers as Celebrate Relay Day.

"We encourage the community to wear purple to help celebrate with us," Schallert said.

On April 24, organizers hosted approximately 150 cancer survivors and caregivers at the second annual Survivor Dinner, held at the First United Methodist Church in Monett. Grant's Restaurant and Tyson Foods sponsored the dinner.

Activities on Friday will begin at 7 p.m. on the main field of Monett's South Park. Teams will have set up campsites around the walking paths and a grandstand will be in place as a central gathering point for evening events.

Father Daniel Robles from St. Lawrence Catholic Church will open the ceremony with prayer. Tracy Waters will sing the National Anthem while a color guard from the Junior ROTC program at the Southwest Area Career Center presents the colors.

Schallert said members of the public are welcome to come to the park to see Relay events, cheer on the survivors or help celebrate the lives of those lost in the struggle against the disease during the remembrance ceremony to be held around 9:30 p.m.

This year's fundraising goal is $120,000. A number of activities will be held to raise additional funds toward the final fundraising total.

Following tradition, activities for the public will begin with a lap around the track by survivors shortly after the opening ceremony. Caregivers will join the survivors for the second lap, followed by all the teams on the third lap.

Among the activities running into the evening will be judging of campsites and judging of the food delicacies prepared by individual teams. The Monett Area YMCA will have its inflatables on site for use as recreation centers for young and old alike at no charge.

A silent auction will be run through the evening for the best basket combinations. The top five baskets will go up for sale in a live auction around 8:30 p.m. Physical therapist Tomas Saaf will again be set up in the survivors tent to offer massages for a donation.

"Relay is attempting to 'go green' this year," Schallert said. "Instead of using sand in the luminaria bags this year, we will be placing canned goods inside instead of sand. Once Relay is over, we will be giving the canned goods to a local food pantry. Culligan water is also donating water to cut down on the use of plastic water bottles."

The luminaria ceremony will begin at 9:30 p.m., followed by the candlelight vigil.

One of the Relay's most popular events, the queen contest, will begin at 10:30 p.m. Men will put on dresses and give their best impression of outrageous femininity to compete for donations to help the cause.

Schallert said the contest will have a few twists. In addition to the 1980s theme, the event will also include a "king" contest, which Schallert said should "prove very entertaining."

Activities will continue into the night as teams keep walking the track while others rest or play. At 11 p.m. the Fight Back ceremony will take place.

"Local cancer survivor Shelby Linahan will be sharing her story with us, and we will share ways that everyone can 'fight back' against cancer every day," Schallert said.

In place of the lip sync contest, the game "Don't Forget the Lyrics" will be offered. Games will be held and prizes given away throughout the night. The Ted E. Bear company will be set up and have new "friends" available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds going to the Relay.

Following a quiet time, the Relay will conclude at 7 a.m. on Saturday. The fundraising total and prizes for various contests will be announced at the closing ceremonies.

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