These are just a couple of the ways the American Cancer Society
works to fight back against cancer aided by funds raised through
Relay For Life events worldwide.
The Logan County Relay For Life has kicked off its 2016 program.
Meeting at Lincoln Christian Church on Monday, January 25, the aim
was to meet leaders, start setting goals, discuss leadership roles,
and share fundraising ideas. This year's Relay for Life will be held
on June 18 from noon to midnight outside the Lincoln Center at
Lincoln College and the theme will be “Rockin’ For A Cure."
Rachel Ray and Cyra
Following a potluck dinner, Rachel
Ray, Relay for Life specialist from Springfield's American Cancer
Society office, introduced Event Lead, Cyra Buttell; Experience
Lead, Cherokee Sydney and several other Relay leaders.
Activities Lead, Becky Rybolt will help set up entertainment for the
Relay and work with Entertainment Lead, Nicole Lee. Logistics Lead,
Devin Vannoy will help put it all together.
Team Ambassador, Carolyn Motley can help you get registered for the
Relay and be a team mentor if needed. She can be reached at
Motley said eight teams have already signed up and she has heard
from several more.
Jill Rannebarger of
Champaign, part of Champaign County's Relay For Life for ten years,
will act as a mentor for other leads.
Buttell said goals this year are to raise $65,000 in gross income,
have 27 teams and 265 participants; and to get at least 135
survivors involved. She would also like to have at least five new
ACS CAN members.
Buttell said she still needs people leads, community champions, team
ambassadors, youth champions, ceremony leads, find the cure leads,
fundraising leads, and account leads. These leaders assist with
various tasks such as recruiting teams, speaking to groups, helping
teams meet goals, engaging youth in cancer awareness events, and
Making a Difference
Buttell said the Relay started in 1985 with one person, Gordon Klatt,
who circled a track at Baker Stadium at Tacoma, Washington's
University of Puget Sound for 24 hours, walking 83.6 miles, and
raising $27,000 to fight cancer. In 1986, nineteen teams
participated in the first Relay For Life event at Tacoma's Stadium
Bowl, raising $33,000. It has now grown into a nationwide event and
global phenomenon raising nearly five billion dollars to save lives.
Ray said there are now 5,000 Relay for Life events making a
difference in over 25 Countries.
Rannebarger and Ray both spoke about the American
Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), which helps to get
the message to legislators about the importance of educating people
about cancer and advocates for laws to be passed.
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Laws have been implemented to help reduce cancer
and there is currently legislation about advertising Electronic
Cigarettes. Rannebarger said members of ACS CAN just filled out
an online form and a letter to legislators asking them to fund
more cancer research that will be sent. ACS CAN memberships are
only ten dollars per year.
Ray said there are many services provided by the
American Cancer Society such as free rides, lodging, and other
Five people stood when Tonita Reifsteck recognized cancer survivors.
In addition to survivors, several caregivers were recognized.
Survivor Nicole Lee said in 2009, when she was 21 years old and a
student at Eastern Illinois University, she found out that she had
cervical cancer. She had surgery and several biopsies plus strong
antibiotics to treat it. Now she is a survivor and pregnant with her
Buttell has also been touched by cancer. Five years ago, when
Buttell had just learned she was pregnant, her mother was diagnosed
with a very rare melanoma in her intestines. Buttell said the
American Cancer Society helped pay for gas when she went for
treatments and put the family up in the Hope Lodge near Barnes
Hospital. Buttell's mom was positive she would survive to see her
grandchild grow up, but unfortunately, died just two weeks before
her granddaughter was born.
With over 700 cancer survivors in Logan County, there are many more
stories of cancer journeys. Survivors and caregivers receive pins,
which Reifsteck said are the "Purple Heart" of cancer survivors.
Ray said there are many fundraising opportunities such as Coaches
vs. Cancer at sporting events, relay recesses for kindergarten
through fourth grade, and a relay field day for fifth through eighth
grade students, to raise money while learning about cancer. Starting
February 16, there will be a March Mania Online Challenge with teams
going head to head in fundraising each week.
Buttell said she hopes to have a community 5K in the next several
months and REPS gym has already offered to be a partner.
If you are interested in fundraising for the Relay, there are
several people you can contact:
Sponsorship Lead, Cheryl McGill manages 'sponsorships asks'
that are being made in the community. These sponsorships can be
credited to a team and/or an individual participant. To make
sponsorship asks, please contact Cheryl at
before you ask for sponsorship.
Online Lead, Tammy Dietrich will be sending out Fundraising
Friday emails every Friday to registered participants who provided
an email when registering. To have your fundraiser included in these
communications, contact Tammy at
Event Lead, Cyra Buttell is managing the Relay for Life of
Logan County, Illinois Facebook group and can help you get the word
out about your fundraisers on social media. To promote your
fundraiser on Facebook, contact Cyra at
Marketing and Publicity Lead, Tonita Reifsteck gets
information to the media. You can also contact her about where you
can put flyers advertising fundraisers.
Reifsteck also serves as Survivor and Caregiver lead, so you can
give her names of survivors willing to have their names shared.
She will have a phone tree for those without email and also has
lists of teams, celebration charts, and lists of those struggling.
You can find more information on the website for the Logan County
www.relayforlife .org/loganil where you can also sign up
online. There is no fee for registration. You can also contact
Carolyn Motley to sign up your team. Meetings have been scheduled
for each month up to June's Relay For Life.