Tazewell County’s 2018 Relay For Life over the weekend failed to its fundraising goal in its fight against cancer, but it did help prepare the next generation.
The second Tazewell County-wide Relay For Life took place Saturday at the Fondulac District Library. The Relay For Life is a community event to come together in the fight against cancer and raise money for the American Cancer Society. Previously, East Peoria, Washington, Pekin and Morton each held their own events before the communities combined to establish a county-wide fundraiser.
The Relay For Life movement is the world’s largest fundraising event to fight every type of cancer in every community. Money raised helps the American Cancer Society save lives by funding groundbreaking cancer research, supporting education and prevention, and providing free information and critical services for people with cancer.
“We raise money for research, patient programs and services,” said Audrey Williams of Trivoli, American Cancer Society community development manager. “The Relay For Life is also a time to celebrate what we’re doing year-round with our fundraising, celebrate cancer survivors in our community and take time to remember loved ones we’ve lost to cancer. We all know somebody that has been touched by cancer. One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. We’re doing something important to help the next generation with our Relay For Life event.”
This year, Tazewell County’s Relay For Life set a fundraising goal of $80,000, according to the American Cancer Society's event website, secure.acsevents.org. It raised $56,476.63.
Twenty-two teams formed to collect donations. Team members took turns walking around a designated path. Each team kept a member on the path at all times during the eight-hour event to signify that cancer never sleeps. Each team sets up a themed campsite at the event, and those who were not walking the path continued their fundraising efforts by selling food and goods or offering games and activities.
“The reason I started participating in Relay For Life 17 years ago was that my mother-in-law had passed away from cancer,” said Dawn Allen of Pekin, team captain of Always Remember Deanne. “Then my grandmother and mother struggled with cancer, and last year was my grandfather’s last as a cancer survivor. Our team is named in honor of my mother, who passed away six years ago.”
In addition to a vendor fair and the requisite walking path, the Tazewell County Relay For Life featured a silent auction, live music, and children’s activities that included face painting, balloon creations and inflatables. A special survivor ceremony and lap were held in the evening, followed by a Luminaria Ceremony to honor survivors and those who have lost the battle to cancer.
Kathleen Brumbaugh of San Jose has been battling breast cancer since 2007. She has been participating in Relays for Life every year since then, but Saturday’s fundraiser was her first Tazewell County event.
“I did it mostly in Logan County, because I lived there for a while,” said Brumbaugh. “I work in Morton, so that’s how I got involved in Tazewell County. It’s a wonderful location because people are stopping by to see what all the hullaballoo is about, so we’re getting a lot of support that way, as well as from people who planned to be here. There is nothing more heartening than hearing the applause during the Survivor Lap, when the cancer survivors make the rounds, and everyone stands on the sidelines and cheers for them.”