The Relay for Life celebration officially kicks off on Saturday at 6 p.m. with the survivor’s walk. The excitement of Relay sometimes overshadows all that goes on the day of the event as far as the set-up and tear down as well as the fundraising that occurs throughout the year.
Each year, teams and individuals raise thousands of dollars to be donated towards cancer research as well as assistance to those suffering from the disease such as free rides to treatment and a 24/7/365 live helpline. Many of the teams do more than raise money. They volunteer before, during and after Relay.
0ne of the top teams this year is Cataler North America. They have raised more than $4,000 to date with the goal of raising $10,000. Some of the fundraising events that the team has offered include paintball and bowling tournaments, bake and hamburger and hot dog sales as well as sales of gift baskets. The team also sells food and drinks at Relay to raise money. This year they’ll have pork barbecue and grilled corn on the cob.
“I’ve lost a couple of aunts and uncles as well as a former co-worker who fought a courageous battle against cancer,” team captain Jerry Pendleton said. “Watching her fight and seeing how much she went through touched me so much I wanted to get involved with the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life. It seems everybody has been touched by cancer one way or another.”
Cataler has almost 100% participation at company events and there are more than 50 employees signed up to volunteer at the event Pendleton said.
The team at Messiah Methodist not only raises a good bit of money for Relay, they are also known for their very lively tent site complete with a photo booth. Each year there’s a theme. Last year was the Roaring Twenties and the year before that was super heroes.
“We enjoy going all out each year and making it extra special,” Joy Ioan, who has been the team captain since 2012 and before that, was on the Love Memorial team said. “This year it’ll be a jewelry theme keeping with the 25thor silver anniversary theme. It’s exciting and we like trying to come up with something really special.”
Messiah Methodist does a pancake supper on Fat Tuesday and several luncheons throughout the year as fundraisers. Ioan and her husband, Robert, are also in charge of the bug run which is another fundraiser for Relay. The bug run is for people on motorcycles who meet at Lincolnton High School and ride throughout the county with a special sticker on their windshields. Whichever rider comes back with the most bugs on their sticker wins a $100 cash prize.
“I lost my dad to lung cancer so I do it (Relay) to honor him,” Ioan said. “My hope is that when my grandchildren come along, there’s not any cancer they have to worry about.”
This is the 25thanniversary for Relay for Relay for Life in Lincoln County. “Relay For Life of Lincoln County, Main Event” is being co-hosted by Relay For Life of East Lincoln County, NC and Relay For Life of Lincolnton NC at Lincolnton High School’s football stadium on Saturday, May 18. The event runs from 6-11 p.m. with gates opening at 4 p.m. for set-up.