The month of May, and the warm weather that comes with it, most likely feels like an eternity from now, but teams from around the mountain are busy planning the 2014 Relay for Life, scheduled this year May 17-18 at Crestwood High School. This year will be the 12th year for the Mountaintop relay, which is meant to remember those who have lost their battle with cancer while giving hope to those who continue to battle and raise the necessary funds to help them in that battle. During the relay, teams of eight or more people commit to raising at least $100 and to keeping at least one member walking the track at all times –signifying that cancer never sleeps. Each year, more than 5,0000 relays take place nationwide.
There is obviously a myriad of considerations when you are dealing with all the planning and organizing of an event that involves, all told, hundreds of attendees. There are committees for fundraising, activities, publicity, food and goods sales, the luminaria ceremony, registration and sponsorship (to name a few). Regina Kloeker serves as cochair of the relay with Dawn Chalk, both of whom have been personally touched by cancer. Dawn is a breast cancer survivor herself. Regina got involved in 2012, and a month before the 2013 relay, her mother passed away from a rare form of brain cancer. Her mother in law is a breast cancer survivor and she lost a cousin to gallbladder cancer
“I relay for my mom,” says Regina. “We are all in it for the good –we all know somebody touched by cancer -everybody knows somebody.”
Organizing the relay has gotten a bit easier, according to Regina, as the local relay co-chairs from Luzerne County have been meeting once a month to brainstorm and get ideas from each other and share a bit of the workload. Regina says that in this way, each relay team isn’t duplicating their services and committee members can attend the other relays in the area to help with decorating, raffle tickets, etc.
“That’s what a relay team is all about; to share the baton. It’s a lot like a juggling act -you just have to work with what you have and be flexible. Much depends on the weather, like overnight activities and other preparations.”
For example, this year, Regina and Dawn have found battery operated tea lights to replace real candles so folks can keep their luminary bag after the relay and give the candles back for reuse, saving money on materials year to year.
The year is long for relay teams and planners. The official kickoff for the calendar year for fundraising and
See Relay page 9