Milford Middle School to host Relay for Life Friday

MILFORD – Cancer affects nearly everyone at some point during their life.

Those fortunate enough to never have contracted the disease almost undoubtedly know someone who has.

Changing those statistics takes, amongst many things, awareness and money. Friday evening at Milford Middle School, Relay for Life will provide both.

Many Relay for Life participants cite knowing cancer victims as their reason for joining the event. (Sussex County Post/file photo)

Many Relay for Life participants cite knowing cancer victims as their reason for joining the event. (Sussex County Post/file photo)

Beginning at 6 p.m., hundreds of participants will begin walking laps (some run as well) for 12 hours to help raise money for the American Cancer Society. The fundraising comes from several sources, including donations to participants and the sale of goods and services to the public, which is invited to attend until midnight.

“I, and most of the people too, Relay because we have somebody – either a relative or close friend – that has survived or passed away from cancer,” said Milford Relay for Life co-Lead Chair Sue Rankin, who shares her RFL position with Trudy Killen. “Money we raise goes toward research, education and services for patients and their families.”

Walkers are typically part of teams with the object being that at least one member must be on the track at all times during the event. Entering last weekend, Ms. Rankin said, Milford Relay for Life had 23 teams registered and just shy of 200 participants.

Monetarily the goal is to raise $55,000.

“I know some years in the past they’ve done more than that, but the last few we’ve seen a little bit of a drop because of the economy,” Ms. Rankin said. “We did about $55,000 last year and we’re still pleased with what we’ve done.”

Entering Monday, team Ribbons & Rainbows member Brenda Beissel was the leading raiser with $1,025 pledged.

“I participate because I know that by raising funds and walking in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life event I will help save lives from cancer,” Ms. Beissel said on her Milford Relay for Life profile page. “It’s overwhelming to think that millions of people will be diagnosed with cancer this year. It might be someone close to us – or you or me. A Relay for Life event is not only a way to join my community to fight back against cancer, but it is also a way to inspire hope by raising funds and cancer awareness to help those facing the disease.”

Annually a new theme for the Milford Relay for Life is chosen. This year it is “holiday seasons of hope.”

Every team will choose a holiday, ranging from those well known to some a little more obscure. And teams tend to sell items that relate to their theme during Relay for Life with the proceeds added to the final kitty.

“We try to pick some known holidays and some unknown ones like National Doughnut Day,” Ms. Rankin said. “It’s so we can have fun with it. Usually you raise a good amount of money at Relay because teams are selling things and the community comes out.”

Typically, Ms. Rankin added, items sold range from food – hotdogs, cookies, nachos, icecream, etc. – to crafts and raffles for baskets of different products. There is also a kids’ area where for $3 children can enjoy moonbounces and face painting.

“We encourage the community to come out and support us,” Ms. Rankin said. “Check us out, have fun and participate.”

Honoring survivors and victims

From 5:30 p.m. until Relay for Life’s official start there is a survivor reception. Survivors, Ms. Rankin said, can be anyone who has been just recently diagnosed with cancer up to those who have been free of the disease for any amount of time.

Milford Middle School on Friday will host Relay for Life at 6 p.m. (Sussex County Post/file photo)

Milford Middle School on Friday will host Relay for Life at 6 p.m. (Sussex County Post/file photo)

During the reception, which is free, there is a dinner and when RFL begins the survivors will take the first lap.

“They’re the reason we Relay,” Ms. Rankin said. “Our hope and encouragement.”

At 9 p.m. there will be a luminaria dedication memorializing loved ones lost to cancer and to honor those who are still battling the disease.

Anyone wishing to participate or donate to the Milford Relay for Life event or those looking for more information are encouraged to email rflmilford@gmail.com. Donations can also be made to teams during Friday’s Relay for Life.

From the Sussex County Sports Desk

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