Relay for Life goals: Lift spirits and fight cancer

survivor lap web(Posted June 12, 2016)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The Madison County Relay For Life isn’t just about raising funds for the fight against cancer. It’s about lifting spirits.

Gina Newsome, co-chair of this year’s event set for June 17 at West Jefferson High School, tells this story about a friend diagnosed with cancer.

“She wasn’t sure about attending Relay last year because she didn’t think she could handle it all, that she would be overwhelmed,” Newsome said. “But when she hit the track with tears running down her face, she was whistling and clapping. She said it was a healing moment in her journey. She knew she wasn’t alone.”

Each year, hundreds of people come together for the Madison County Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Cancer survivors and their caregivers are treated to dinner. Teams of families, friends, co-workers and the like camp out and take turns walking laps around the track. Concessions are sold. Entertainment is provided. Everyone is welcome.

“This year, our theme is ‘Wishing Upon a Cure.’ All of the teams are representing different Disney movies. Mickey and Minnie Mouse will be there, posing for pictures and leading laps. It’s going to be fun,” Newsome said.

Tinkerbell will make an appearance, as well. At every Relay, right at nightfall, the music and laps stop for the luminary ceremony. Candles are lit around the track and in the stands, and names are read of cancer survivors, those fighting cancer, and those who have passed on. This year, Tinkerbell will wave her wand to help light the luminaries.

Also on the schedule is an auction featuring everything from children’s goodies and sporting event tickets to vacation packages to Hawaii, Texas, Arizona, Florida, California, Washington D.C. and other destinations.

Always popular are the “Hopeful Bra” and Ms. Relay contests. For Hopeful Bra, participants enter a bra decorated and named to show support for the fight against cancer. The bras are judged and a winner is chosen. For Ms. Relay, teams choose a male participant and doll him up in a dress to compete for the title of “Ms. Relay for Life.” Relay attendees vote for their favorites; each vote is 25 cents. The entrant with the most quarters in his bucket wins.

“Last year, the guys collected over $500 in 20 minutes!” Newsome said.

One of the many other interactive features of Relay is the Locks of Love and Wigs for Kids station. Beauticians will be available to cut hair to donate to these organizations. At least 10 inches of hair is needed for a donation.

The 2015 Madison County Relay for Life raised $100,000 for the American Cancer Society. This year’s goal is $105,000. Participating teams start raising funds weeks and months before Relay weekend, then keep on raising funds at the event. The 2016 co-chairs are Newsome, Lori Rinehart, and Carole Haenszel.

For more information, call Gina Newsome at (740) 506-5305 or visit

Cancer survivors who would like to attend the survivor dinner should call Vicki Germann at (614) 208-8842.


Platinum Plus (over $1,000)—Safe Harbor Retirement Group; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Platinum ($1,000)—Flyer’s Pizza and Subs; Jefferson Industries; Stanley Elec-tric; Eagles London 950

Gold ($500-$999)—Merchants Bank; FirstMerit Bank; Phi Beta Psi Sorority; Ann & Tony’s; Honda; Madison Health; Ohio Health

Silver ($250-$499)—Family Dental Care; Helm Briscoe; Veterans of Foreign Wars West Jefferson

Bronze ($100-$249)—Murry and Ed-wards; Kronk and Skaggs Insurance; Krazy Glue; Direct Mechanicals; Willow-wood; Amtekco; Woods Operating Co.

In-Kind—Strike King, Matt Ryan DJ, All-Win Electric, Kroger, Eby Trailers, JD Equipment.


Relay for Life schedule of events

Friday, June 17

3 p.m.—Grounds open for team set-up

4 p.m.—Registration forms due for Hopeful Bra/Ms. Relay

5 p.m.—Food court opens

5:30 p.m.—Silent auction begins

6 p.m.—Opening ceremony at the track, corporate sponsor ribbon-cutting, flag ceremony VFW Post 201, DJ, National Anthem, Mickey and Minnie welcome

6 p.m.—Survivor dinner in the school

6 p.m.—Fundraiser Village opens, Hopeful Bra contest starts, luminary sales begin

6:30-8:30 p.m.—Face painting

7-9 p.m.—Madison Health (Derma Scan, CPR demos), balloon artist

7:30 p.m.—Survivor/caregiver celebration lap, Nicole Evans sings National Anthem, ribbon cutting by Caregiver Award winner, led by Mickey and Minnie

8 p.m.—Locks of Love haircuts, Mickey and Minnie available for photos, sale of glow-in-the-dark Mickey ears

8:30 p.m.—Zumba

9 p.m.—Luminary sales end, Hopeful Bra contest ends, Ms. Relay contest begins, “Name that Disney Movie” trivia

9:30 p.m.—Raffle drawings

9:45 p.m. Winners of Ms. Relay contest crowned, Hopeful Bra and team spirit awards (My Link to Relay, Spirit Ears, team theme), Inspiration Award

10 p.m.—Luminary ceremony

11 p.m.—Frozen t-shirt contest

11:15 p.m.—Silent auction ends

11:30 p.m.-midnight—Auction item pick-up

Midnight—Victory lap led by survivors and Mickey and Minnie

Saturday, June 18

12:30 a.m.—Closing ceremony (team level awards)

1 a.m.—End of Relay

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