"Imagine a World with More Birthdays" is the theme of Monett's 2010 Relay for Life event, which will be held May 7 and 8 in the city's South Park.
The annual American Cancer Society fundraiser has attracted the involvement of 24 teams who have already been working hard to raise money through individual team fundraisers, like the Rock For a Cure concert that is being held tonight.
Jennifer Cendroski and Betty Messer are serving as event co-chairman this year, and $95,000 is the fundraising goal set for the 2010 Relay. Last year, the local Relay raised $91,545,01.
"This year we had anticipated a drop because of the economy," said Cendroski. "But what we've found is that the dollar amount per donations is down, but the number of people donating is up.
"A lot of our teams have also discovered that doing fundraisers rather than seeking straight donations is working better for them," said Cendroski. "Teams have had more garage sales and bake sales and have had a lot of success with that."
This year, Relay for Life will begin at 5 p.m. with magic shows, clowns and YMCA inflatables in conjunction with the Relay's birthday theme.
"From 5 to 7 p.m., we'll have more entertainment for the kids," said Cendroski. "This will be a fun time for kids and families to come out and unwind."
At 7 p.m., the Relay will officially begin with opening ceremonies and the Survivors Lap. All cancer survivors and their caregivers in the Monett community are invited to walk a lap together to mark the beginning of night-long victory laps by team members.
"Relay for Life is a community event," said Cendroski. "It's a way for our community to show support for all of those who have been involved in the battle with cancer and their support system."
This year, the Relay team is emphasizing public involvement and encouraging members of the community to come out and participate in Relay events throughout the evening.
"It's free to attend, and there will be a lot to do," said Cendroski. "People can come and walk and just visit with people. They can also view the different team campsites, eat dinner and participate in various activities. I anticipate with survivors and participants, we'll have at least 300 people at the Relay."
The schedule of planned activities is as follows: 6 to 8 p.m., silent basket auction; 8:45 p.m., silent auction for the top five baskets with the highest bids; 7 p.m., opening ceremonies and survivors lap; 9:30 p.m., luminaria ceremony; 10 p.m., candlelight vigil; 10:30 p.m., queen contest; 11 p.m.; fight back ceremony; 11:30 p.m. karaoke begins; 12:15 a.m., Relay games begin.
The Relay continues through the night and ends on Saturday morning with closing ceremonies scheduled for 7 a.m.
A week of activities will precede the Relay event. A Survivors Dinner will mark the beginning of Relay week. The dinner will be held on Friday, April 30 at the United Methodist Church in Monett. Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6:15 p.m.
Members of the 2010 Relay for Life Committee include: Cendroski and Messer, event co-chairmen; Beth Luebbering, basket auction; Emma Faye Ruscha, Helen Ruscha and Tracy Schallert, survivorship; Laura Apostol, luminaria ceremony; Joyce Lawrence, Sue Craker and Lisa Lamp, luminaria sales; Ashley Alford, accounting/registration; Emily Mettlach and Sandy Alford, corporate sponsorship; Brian Hirsch, on-line; and Darrin Henson, logistics.
For more information about ordering a luminaria, call 235-6555 or 235-7444. For information on participating in the survivors lap or survivors dinner, call 417-489-0099.