Around 50 people attended the kickoff rally for the 15th annual Relay for Life in Monett on Tuesday. Leaders for the American Cancer Society fundraiser shared ideas and inspirational conversation to begin preparations for the May 7, 2010, event.
Jennifer Cendroski, co-chairman of the Relay with Betty Messer, talked about the history of Relay for Life and how the program has worked in Monett over the years. Cendroski introduced the committee chairpersons who will spearhead fundraising work.
Committee chairpersons are: Ashley Alford, accounting and registration; Beth Luebbering, basket auction; Emily Mettlach and Sandy Alford, corporate sponsorship; Darrin Henson, logistics; Joyce Lawrence, Lisa Lamp, Sue Craker, luminaria; Brian Hirsch and Tawnya Brooks, internet communication; Emma Faye Ruscha, Helen Ruscha, Tracy Schallert, survivorship; Shelby Linahan, team captain coordinator; and Jay and Laura Apostol, luminaria ceremony.
Trent Chance was introduced as the American Cancer Society staff partner this year. Chance explained his participation in the effort is more than just a job.
"My mom is a survivor," Chance said. "She is my best friend. Cancer almost took her. I'm not going to let that happen."
Chance started as a volunteer for the American Cancer Society. He viewed himself lucky having been able to turn his passion into a career. Chance offered details about what the American Cancer Society does for survivors and their families, providing support through the ordeal.
The effort for the 2010 Relay will now shift to the planning committees. Engaging team captains will be the next step, leading into Relay season. Chance said he plans to partner closely with local organizers and appear at as many events in the coming months as possible.
The 2009 Relay raised more than $91,000 for cancer research and patient support services. The 2008 Relay raised more than $120,000, which set the record. Plans call for the event to again be held at Monett's South Park in May.