STEUBENVILLE - Some people think Relay for Life is a running marathon or a sporting event.
Not so, according to Kyle Elder, co-chairman of the Steubenville Area Relay for Life sponsored by the Jefferson County Unit of the American Cancer Society, who said Wednesday evening's Relay for Life 100-Day Kickoff was a way to clear up misconceptions, recruit teams and volunteers and let participating teams share their reasons for relaying.
The two-hour event held at the Fort Steuben Mall also honored survivors, saluted students who have participated in mini-relays and offered a cupcake bar and a virtual tour of relay.
NEW TEAM — Bridget McLamara of Steubenville, center, recruited Buster Bowman to be part of her Steubenville Area Relay for Life team called Team Radioactive that also includes Amee Tharp of Richmond, right, and other family and friends. The two were among teams participating Wednesday evening in the relay’s 100-day kickoff held at the Fort Steuben Mall.
-- Janice R. Kiaski
The kickoff marked the 100-day countdown to the relay that will be held June 21-22 at the Robert Kettlewell Memorial Stadium at Indian Creek High School in Wintersville.
"Rock Out Cancer" is the theme of the relay that hopes to raise $133,000 for research, education, advocacy and patient services.
"Tonight's event is to educate the community on what Relay for Life is," said Elder, event co-chair along with Jaclyn Walters. "We want to help people to start teams. We want to answer any questions that they might have because there are a lot of misconceptions about it. We want to make sure that all misconceptions are cleared up tonight and educate the community on how we fight back against this disease," Elder said.
"We are very happy with the turnout, and we're excited," Elder said. "We just have a hundred days to go. It's going to go fast. We are helping teams register, and if they need help after tonight's kickoff, we want to reach out to as many people as we can."
While many teams on hand were veteran participants of Relay for Life, a new team on board is called Team Radioactive. Its captain is Bridget McLamara of Steubenville, who set up a booth with team member and longtime friend Amee Tharp of Richmond.
"This is my 10th year of being cancer free," McLamara said of a test confirmation that came at the beginning of February and further motivated her to organize a team. The nurse at Signa is a thyroid cancer survivor.
The two said their team, which includes about 15 family and friends, is planning a fundraiser called Crop for a Cure for scrapbooking.
Asked what message she'd like to get across about Relay for Life as a newcomer, McLamara said, "Certainly with cancer, everything is about prevention, and people are afraid, and I know because I am terrible about doing my own health care, but I think you have to overcome what you're afraid of and the 'what could-be's' and work with that, stay on top of it."
The next Relay for Life meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on April 16 in lecture hall 2100 at Eastern Gateway Community College.
(Kiaski can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)