Relay for Life begins Friday

Published 8:26 am Thursday, April 22, 2010

MURFREESBORO – Hertford-Gates Relay for Life officials are gearing up for a birthday bash and it appears they’ll have plenty of help to blow out the candles.

The 10th annual event is set to get underway at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 23 where a record-shattering 61 teams and 1,113 pre-registered participants will take part in a wide variety of activities.

“Those numbers are astonishing,” said Bonnie Langdale, co-chair of the Hertford-Gates Relay for Life Planning Committee. “We set a goal of 52 teams and 1,000 participants. We left both of those numbers in the dust.”

Langdale said she felt the past success stories of the event have a lot to do with this year’s record numbers.

“We feel those numbers are sending a message that Relay is an event that appeals to a wide audience,” she stressed. “While we will never, ever lose sight of the reason why we Relay, this event has grown into much, much more. It’s a great way for family and friends to spend quality time together.”

Despite the large number of teams and participants, not to mention the general public that traditionally turn out in force to support Relay, Langdale noted that efforts have been made to relieve the normal crowd congestion.

“We’re using a new lay-out this year, one where we’re using more space to set-up the team camps,” she said. “That, in turn, will give us more room to operate.”

Langdale also pointed out there are more onsite fundraisers than in previous years.

“Come out and buy a hot dog, a hamburger or a raffle ticket….every cent we raise goes towards finding a cure for all types of cancer,” she noted.

This year’s fundraising goal is $232,000.

“With the enthusiasm building for the months and weeks leading up to Relay, we feel very confident that we will reach our goal,” Langdale boasted.

Opening ceremonies are set for 6 p.m. at Squirrel Park on the campus of Chowan University. Parking is available at marked locations around the campus.

Highlighting Friday night’s activities are the survivor lap, caregiver lap, introduction of teams and the luminary ceremony (9 p.m.). Langdale said nearly 2,500 luminaries have already been sold. Those wanting to make a purchase ($10 per luminary or three for $25) can see any Relay team member or stop by the luminary tent before 5 p.m. on Friday.

Team members will walk the track throughout the night, leading the way into an assortment of Saturday events that including plenty of entertainment, the Kid’s Walk (9-11 a.m.), drawing for raffle prizes (11:30 a.m.) and closing ceremonies (1 p.m.).

Langdale said an awards ceremony for this year’s Relay will be held in late-May.