This year’s observation is scheduled for May 4-5, 2012, in downtown Cleveland around the Bradley County Courthouse. The festivities will begin at dusk on Friday evening, concluding at 10 p.m. Saturday night. The official program will begin at 9 p.m. and continue until 10 p.m. Saturday for a total of 25 hours of activities.
Today’s kickoff breakfast was an opportunity for new Relay for Life teams to sign up for the May Relay. There are already 12 new teams signed up to participate, in addition to the many teams that have participated in the past and plan to continue.
American Cancer Society officials expect other teams to sign up prior to the Nov. 11 deadline. The Relay for Life theme for 2012 is “Holidays for Hope.”
The sign-up fee for Relay teams is $100, but there is also the opportunity for businesses, industries, civic organizations and others to become sponsors.
Hope sponsorships are $5,000, Celebrate (survivors) sponsorships are $2,500, Remember (luminaria) sponsorships are $2,500, T-shirt sponsorships are $1,000 and there is a $500 fee for “Friend of Relay” sponsors.
In addition to honoring last year’s Relay for Life participants, Life Care Centers of America’s Relay team was recognized as the top fundraiser in the 2010 Relay. Life Care raised more than $23,000.
Today’s kickoff included a meal, presentations of awards from the 2011 Relay, and several speakers. These speakers included cancer survivors, Relay participants and Cancer Society officials. Bradley County Sheriff Jim Ruth gave the opening prayer prior to the celebration.
Angela Mathis, of the American Cancer Society and Bradley County Relay coordinator, presented plaques to the 12 new organizations that have already signed up for their first year. She also presented medals to go with the plaques of 2011 Relay participants.
The 2011 Relay for Life raised $225,000. “We felt this was fantastic, considering the economy,” said Mathis. The goal for 2010 was $250,000, so 2011’s Relay fell a little short.
This year’s goal is once again $250,000, and American Cancer Society officials and Relay participants are optimistic the goal can be reached this year.
Guest speakers at today’s breakfast touched on personal experiences with cancer involving themselves, family members and friends, and why they have become involved with Relay for Life.
Comments from these speakers will be included in a follow-up story on today’s kickoff breakfast. An updated list of all Relay for Life participants, including this year’s 12 new signees, will also be included in that follow-up.