By Christina Whiting
Stop by Homer Middle School on June 13 and 14 and you might think you have stepped back in time to the 1980’s, but actually, it will be participants and spectators of Homer’s sixth annual Relay for Life.
“This year’s theme is Don’t Stop Believing,” said co-chair Michelle Geagel. “We expect to see a few David Bowies, maybe a Michael Jackson or two.”
More than 100 participants have been raising funds to support the American Cancer Society and are preparing to walk for 22 hours, from 5 p.m. on June 13 to 3 p.m. on June 14.
“This relay is an important event for Homer,” Geagel said. “Cancer has touched the lives of so many of us and this event provides an opportunity to gather to meet other survivors and loved ones.”
Team members will take turns walking, so that someone from each team is on the track at any given time.
“Last year, Roberta Ness and Fred Eddy from Anchor Point walked the entire time,” Geagel said. “Roberta walked 33 miles and Fred walked 28.”
Participants come from all walks of life to walk this relay for life.
Geagel lost her uncle to cancer. She and her daughter Samantha have participated with the Relay for Life for the past four years. Last year, Samantha formed her own team.
“I thought it would fun to have my own team and get more kids involved,” she said. “I like knowing that I’m helping out and that I can make a difference.”
Denise and Jim Hansen’s lives have been touched by cancer in both two legged and four legged loved ones. Denise’s father passed away of cancer in 1997 and in 2012, they lost their dog Pushinka to cancer. The Hansen’s team is Paws 4 the Cure.
“Participating in the relay is one way I can make a difference,” Hansen said. “I can help to ensure that no other daughter suffers the loss of her Father to this dreadful disease.”
Hansen is humbled by the generous support of animal lovers in the community.
“Many have rallied with us, raised money, increased awareness and joined in on whatever the team needs,” she said. “I’ve met new folks I never would have become acquaintances with, all who were willing to meet with me, hear the story, join the team, and share their own grief and hope.”
Hansen hopes that research efforts to thwart cancer in humans will translate into better treatments and cures for cancer in dogs.
Ten-year-old Delilah Harris is captain of Team Puppies.
“I like how while at the same time we are helping find a cure for cancer we are also having fun,” she said. “If I go to a booth and buy a pretty scarf, I am not just getting something for myself, I am also raising money to find a cure for cancer.”
Harris first participated on her mom’s team, helping her set up, take down and work the event. When a family friend suggested that they start a kid’s team, Harris rounded up her friends and Team Puppies was formed.
The kids participating in Team Puppies have ranged from ages six to twelve. All have loved ones who have been touched by cancer – an aunt, a grandmother, a neighbor, a friend and a mom.
“I have plenty of family who have had cancer. I know what their cancer was, and that it meant life or death,” she said. “I have faith in knowing they will find a cure.”
In addition to raising funds, Team Puppies also works to provide kid-friendly fun at the event, including games, a bounce house, face painting and kid foods, attracting and keeping kids and their families at the Relay.
Team Puppies is still looking for team members and donations. Donate to Team Puppies at www.relayforlifeofhomer.org or call Delilah at 235-1093 and a Puppy will come to you.
More than 100 participants are currently registered in 19 teams and have raised $37,240 so far. Funds raised are used for research grants and programs, prevention programs, community and patient support programs like the Look good, feel good program which provides wigs and breast prosthetics, detection and treatment programs, fundraising and to the construction of Hope Lodges, local accommodations that serve as a home away from home.
Homer’s Relay for Life will run from 5 p.m. June 13 to 3 p.m. June 14. Snacks and entertainment will keep participants energetic and engaged, including the Eight Mile Band and Karaoke with Dax.
The annual Survivor and Caregiver Reception is catered by the women of the United Methodist Church and will take place on June 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“Cancer survivors are those who have been diagnosed with cancer, whether their treatment included minimal intervention or required more drastic methods,” Geagel said. “They are all survivors.”
The reception recognizes survivors and caregivers and provides an opportunity to network with one another.
On June 13 at 11:15 p.m. a luminaria ceremony will take place, with a large movie screen scrolling for all to see the names of those who have either lost their battle with cancer or who are currently fighting cancer. Luminaries can be purchased online at www.relayforlifeofhomer.org.
Teams and team members are still needed. It costs just $10 to participate. Register at relayforlifeofhomer.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Michelle Drake at 399-5262 or Michelle Geagel at 399-1359.
Relay for Life schedule
Friday June 13, 2014
9 a.m. Set-up of official event tents and sound system
Noon Teams allowed to begin set-up of team campsites
4:30 p.m. Survivor and Caregiver reception, hosted by Homer United Methodist Women
5 p.m. Relay begins
5 p.m. Silent auction bidding opens and luminary sales begin
5:30 p.m. Survivor and caregiver reception tent with Seaside Singers
5:30 p.m. Sponsors meet and greet
6:15 p.m. Opening ceremony
7 p.m. Parade of teams and team photos
7:30-9:30 p.m. Entertainment by The Eight Mile Band
8:30 p.m. Contest – Best Campsite and Team Spirit
9:45-11 p.m. KARAOKE with DAX
10:30 p.m. Luminary sales close
11:15 p.m. Luminary ceremony begins
Saturday June 14
12 a.m. Contest for best 80’s costume
12:15 a.m. Midnight snack – Team theme
12–2 a.m. 1980’s dance party— Show me the moves!! – with DJ ME
2-4 a.m. Movie “Footloose”
3 a.m. Contest: glow stick bonanza
4 a.m. Game: Poker Walk – 5 laps, best hand
4:45 a.m. Game: Blackout Bingo
5:30 a.m. Contest for best bed head hair
6 a.m. Contest: Crow like a rooster
7 a.m. Orange juice and breath mints
8 a.m. Breakfast, provided by Kachemak Bay Lions Club
8–10 a.m. Zumba, presented by Maria Santa Lucia and friends
10 a.m. Game: A new surprise Relay/ Relay this year
11 a.m. Game: Team tug-of-war
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Entertainment by Holy Santos Band
Noon Contest: Little Relay Fashion Show; Design and make your own Relay outfit
Noon Silent auction closes
1 p.m. Silent auction top bidders are announced/pick up and pay
1 – 2 p.m. Contest: Mr. and Mrs. Relay
2:30 p.m. Closing Ceremony
2:45 p.m. Fundraising totals are announced and all team members take to the track for the official closing
3 p.m. Official Closing
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