Relay exceeds its goal

STEUBENVILLE – Organizers of the Steubenville Area Relay for Life said the event was a success, not only because it surpassed the monetary goal set for this year but also because the high level of participation.

Relay co-chairs Kyle Elder and Jaclyn Walters said the event raised more than $137,720, surpassing their $133,000 goal, for cancer research, patient services, advocacy and education supported by the American Cancer Society.

But it also drew nearly 400 participants and more than 100 cancer survivors who took the event’s first lap, Elder said.

“And it was our biggest year for luminaria, with hundreds placed closely together along the track,” he said, referring to the candles lit in memory or honor of loved ones who have battled cancer.

“We also had great weather and a lot of participation in the events overnight,” Elder added, referring to a mix of scavenger hunt, sing-alongs, trivia contests and other activities enjoyed by walkers between laps during the overnight event.

During closing ceremonies special recognition was given to the Relay’s top team fundraiser, Wilinski’s Walkers, which raised more than $16,000; and individual fundraiser, Rich Wilinski.

Kudos also went to the Family Jewels team for having the best fundraiser, the release of about 200 lighted balloons following the lighting of the luminaria. The team also received the Spirit Award for collecting the most spirit tokens – 239.

Other fundraisers included the sponsorship of 53 butterflies released before the closing ceremonies, an endeavor undertaken by the Steppin’ for Sisters team.

Receiving an award for the best educational message was Wintersville United Methodist Church, whose members distributed information on skin cancer during the event.

Named the Best Rookie Team, given to a group that is new to the Relay, was Team Cassie, which was led by Cassie Buchanan, a cancer survivor.

The participant who logged the most laps during the Relay was Karen Lundquist, a retired Edison High School physical education teacher who walked more than 27 miles.

Special recognition also was given to three local schools for raising the most money through mini relays and other events held earlier this year. They were: Edison High School, which raised more than $7,000; Indian Creek Middle School, which raised more than $2,000; and Pleasant Hill Elementary School, which raised more than $5,000.

An award also went to the Shear Cancer team for having the best decorated tent. Formed by co-workers of Shear Designs of Toronto, the group adopted a rock ‘n’ roll theme, with teammate Chris Bomely going as far as donning a sequined jumpsuit and broad sunglasses to appear as Elvis.

“People took the theme of Rock Out Cancer and ran with it. Karen Lundquist’s team had a rock garden at their camp site,” said Elder.

While Saturday brought an end to the 2013 Steubenville Area Relay for Life, organizers and team captains soon will be preparing for future events.

That includes Barbara Wilinski, a member of the Northeastern Ohio American Cancer Society regional board and past chairman, who will be chairing the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, a new event locally to be held in October 2014.