Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

June 14, 2013

Relay for Life makes a difference

Diane Raver
The Herald-Tribune

BATESVILLE — Ripley County Relay for Life

Dates: June 22-23

Times: 8 a.m.-8 a.m.

Place: Batesville High School track

To register: Persons still interested in joining can visit www.relayfor life.org or contact committee members at ripleyrfl@yahoo.com.

The Ripley County Relay for Life’s theme this year is “Dream Big, Hope Big, Relay Big! Why Not?”

May marked the 100th anniversary for the American Cancer Society, “so our goal is to make everything bigger and better this year,” reports Jeni Schnebelt, who is co-chairing the event with Ronda Linkel, Batesville.

“We have 32 teams with 297 participants, an increase from last year.” In addition to participants, area citizens are welcome to attend.

New this year, the Margaret Mary Health Foundation will have a bone marrow donor drive Saturday from 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

Stuart Road Racing will host a one-hour racing event Sunday morning at 5 a.m. “There are several bands that will be performing throughout the day and night, Relay Idol contest, and we will be painting the towns purple June 15 and are asking all residents to become involved,” the Cross Plains resident notes.

In addition, “there will be live entertainment, kids’ games and activities, Relay’s Got Talent, a purse auction, silent auction, Little Mr. and Miss Relay and Zumbathon, just to name a few of the countless activities. You will also find great food and drinks .... At its heart, Relay for Life is a celebration. We celebrate cancer survivors and their caregivers and honor those we’ve lost. We dance, we laugh, we cry, and we come together to fight back.

“Survivors walk the first lap around the track and light the relay torch. They are also honored through a special dove releasing ceremony. Following their first lap, a breakfast is hosted in their honor, where they receive T-shirts and gift bags. We also pay special tribute to caregivers during this time because behind every one of those survival stories are people who helped make these stories possible.

“The luminaria ceremony is a time for participants to gather and remember those who have fallen victim to cancer. Guest speakers are invited to share their stories, and candles are lit in remembrance of a loved one. Then participants walk a lap around the track in silence to give respect to those who have fallen ill with cancer or to those whose lives were lost.”  

The fundraising goal is $118,000, “and we are well on our way to achieving that,” Schnebelt says.

“Thanks in part to generous contributions to Relay for Life, the ACS helps people to get well, stay well and find cures to fight back against cancer. Funds raised help pay for lodging at an ACS Hope Lodge, help cancer patients get to treatment and back home again through the Road to Recovery program, support Reach to Recovery volunteers as they visit newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients, cover the cost of providing information to those facing cancer, help guide patients through their cancer journey through the ACS Patient Navigator Program and fund groundbreaking research and new clinical trials.

““I always look forward to the feeling of hope that I get when surrounded by so many inspirational people. You can’t help but feel like what you are doing is making a difference when you look out at the sea of purple shirts walking the track!  

“None of this could be possible without our sponsors, in-kind donors and all of those who support us .... Each year they come through for us in a big way, and we are so very appreciative.”

She adds, “I would encourage people to join the ACS Cancer Action Network (www.acscan.org). It is the nation’s leading cancer organization that is working every day to make cancer issues a national priority. Many of the most important decisions about cancer are made outside of the doctor’s office. They are made by your state Legislature, in Congress and in the White House. ACS CAN empowers regular people to be part of the growing national movement that is fighting back against cancer.”