All For A Good Cause
Meeting the goals of the American Cancer Society has been an annual event for the past ten years at the Hughesville High School track and field stadium. Each year hundreds of residents come out to honor a loved one by purchasing a luminaria candle, pay tribute to survivors, eat or just have fun and good old fashion comradeship at the twenty four hour Relay For Life event. This year’s event was held May 29 and 30 and the theme was “Mardi Gras”.
“This is like a mini carnival,” said Mike Bieber, Hughesville, who co-chaired the event with Doris Swartz from Muncy. Starting in September they coordinated the event with about twelve committees and members that raised sponsorships and organized participating teams. Over forty different teams were registered this year to raise a goal of $106,500 said Swartz and Bieber. “We have until the end of August to reach this goal,” they said.
A memorial tribute was given to former Relay For Life committee member, Carol Puderbach. Each committee member wore a green tee shirt with Carol Puderbach’s photo on the back.
The event started Friday at 4 p.m. with set up and registrations. Close to five hundred names and donations were collected for the luminarias. Live entertainment filled the air with CKQ Jazz Group and opening ceremonies began at 6 p.m. followed by a survivor and caregiver walk and survivor banquet.
At 7:45 p.m. several joined in the Fight Back Ceremony led by Dale Hessler.
The luminarias were lit at 9 p.m. during a special ceremony. They were placed strategically across the bleachers to spell the word ‘hope.’ Votive candles were nestled in sand bags and lit for a soft effect. Three volunteers took turns reading each name. Mostly local people purchased the luminarias but many of the names were in honor of someone they knew or loved that may have been from somewhere else. “Regardless, all names havea local connection, ” added Bieber. The Resurrection Singers, a folk group from the Church of the Resurrection in Muncy sang five songs throughout the ceremony.
There were severalvendors set up around the track providing games and activities, selling food, raffling baskets full of gifts and goodies and all were raising money for the American Cancer Society. Each team made a raffle basket and sold tickets for a dollar a chance. Winners for the baskets were announced on Saturday between three and four p.m. before closing remarks and awards presentations.
Throughout the day on Saturday, there was a bed head competition, a Ms. Relay Competition, massages by Twin Hills Health Center, entertainment by the Montgomery Singers, a relay parade, alligator wrestling, and a frozen tee shirt competition,
Over fifty three thousand dollars were raised before six p.m. on Friday evening. Proceeds will benefit the Lycoming Unit of the American Cancer Society which is dedicated to cancer research, service and education, said Ellen Bokeko, who works for the American Cancer Society as Income Development Specialist. Bokeko helped Swartz and Bieber organize the event and this is their second year as co-chairs.
“This is almost like a family,” said Bieber. “Each year the vendors come and request the same site and set up their campsite,” added Swartz. “Right now we have thirty three teams present with about fifteen members per team. We will have almost five hundred visitors before the event is over,” they said.
Not only did people contribute their time and effort for a good cause, but many enjoyed nice weather and twenty four hours of fun and support.