Relay For Life Aims To Raise $30k For Cancer Research

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Cancer doesn’t take a holiday, but those who are working to beat the disease will be celebrating at the Athens County Relay for Life this weekend at Alexander High School.The team for this year’s American Cancer Society fundraiser is “Cancer doesn’t take a holiday, so neither will we.” To celebrate the theme, participants will be taking part in several holidays throughout the evening and into the morning.

The Athens County Relay for Life will kick off at 3 p.m. on Saturday and continue until 9 a.m. on Sunday.

In addition to the traditional Relay events — such as the survivor’s lap and luminary ceremony — there will be a trick-or-treat and apple bobbing around 3:30 p.m., a Fourth of July celebration at 4:30 p.m., a “thanks and giving” dinner for survivors at 5:30 p.m., games for Mardi Gras beads at 8 p.m, a birthday party at 10:30 p.m., a New Year/new day party at midnight, Easter egg hunt at 2 a.m. and even a visit from Santa and snowball fight at 5 a.m.

Tammy Bobo, finance chairwoman for Relay, says that teams are encouraged to select a holiday in which to decorate their campsites for the weekend. She said her Hocking Valley Bank team chose Halloween to “put a scare in cancer.” The bank is providing candy to other campsites for the trick-or-treat.

This year’s goal is to raise $30,000.

“At present, we’ve raised a little over $20,000 through a variety of fundraisers since Sept. 1,” Bobo said on Monday. She said that Relay fundraising season runs from Sept. 1 though Aug. 31.

Funds will also be raised at the event this weekend through donations, team registrations, a live and Chinese auction, and luminary service.

The luminary service allows participants to honor those lost to cancer and to celebrate survivors. The luminary bags will be lit around the track at Alexander High School at 9:30 p.m. A lap is done in silence to honor those affected by the disease.

Following the short ceremony, there will be a celebratory fireworks display.

“It’s a really moving time,” Bobo said.

Athens County Relay for Life co-chairwoman Bev Kubachka said that the local event has been happening in Athens County for approximately 17 years. She said the community used to partner with Ohio University for the event, but now OU holds its own Relay for Life, which was held in the spring.

Kubachka said Relay for Life is set up as an 18-hour event to symbolize one’s journey through cancer. She said the night signifies when cancer patients are going through dark times, such as receiving treatment. The event ends as the sun resurfaces, bringing a ray of hope.

“It’s a fundraising event, no doubt,” Kubachka said. “But it’s also to honor survivors and give support to those during their battle with cancer. And to memorialize those who have lost their battle.”

Kubachka said she was approached about getting involved with Relay for Life a year after her husband died of cancer. She teaches nursing at Hocking College and gets her students involved in the event. Since becoming part of the event, Kubachka has battled and won against breast cancer herself.

The Athens County Relay for Life also holds a special place in the heart of Sara Richardson, 21, of Athens, who will serve as this year’s Relay for Life ambassador. Richardson had bone cancer as a child and the disease relapsed when she was a teen.

At the age of 14, Richardson’s leg was amputated and she was given less than a 10 percent chance of survival. Now, she has been cancer free for almost eight years.

Richardson said that music played a key role in her recovery. This led to her selecting music therapy as her major at Ohio University. She will be a senior this fall. She will share her story and words of encouragement during the opening ceremony of Relay on Saturday.

Teams and individuals can still register for Relay for Life this week and on the day of the event beginning at 2 p.m. Teams are encouraged, but Kubachka said individuals are welcome.

Kubachka said she encourages those who have never been to a Relay event to stop by and see what it’s all about. She said some have a misconception that Relay is a race.

She said there’s also a misconception that all the money raised leaves the local community. Kubachka said while a lot of the money goes to support national cancer research, the American Cancer Society also provides many local programs to serve those with cancer. Some of those programs include the Look Good, Feel Better program, which provides wigs and makeup lessons for those who have lost their hair during treatment; and transportation for those who have to travel for treatment.

For information about the Athens County Relay for Life, visit or