New Richmond's annual Relay For Life is set to begin Friday, June 14, when 26 teams take to the middle school track for the 24-hour event.
The relay, which is designed to help raise money for the American Cancer Society, lasts all night because "cancer never sleeps." Relay participants are not required to walk all night, but each team should have a representative on the track at all times during the event.
This is the 20th anniversary of Relay For Life in New Richmond and the 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society, making this year's theme "All About Birthdays." The motto is "help us blow out the candles on cancer."
New Richmond's event is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on June 14 at the New Richmond Middle School track, 920 Riley Ave. The event will conclude at 2 p.m. on June 15. According to Jill Foster, local publicity chairwoman, this year's Relay committee is hoping to raise $112,000 -- the same amount that was raised in 2012.
The opening ceremony, which will feature a speech by honorary co-chairwoman Lois Worbes, will begin at 6 p.m. The luminaria ceremony will feature a speech by Caleb Peterson at 10 p.m.
There will also be special survivor events, bingo, spaghetti eating contest, guest speakers, kids games, education, food and silent auction items.
Relay For Life began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Wash. to help fight cancer. He raised $27,000 that first year. There are now Relay For Life events in more than 600 communities nationwide and in 21 different countries. In the last 20 years, New Richmond has raised nearly $2.5 million for the American Cancer Society.
Last year the Relay For Life of New Richmond survivors represented more than 576 years of survivorship. The 24-hour event is free and open to everyone.
Gold sponsors of the local event include Andersen Windows, WESTconsin Credit Union, Westfields Hospital, Western Wisconsin Cancer Center, Family Fresh, Thunder Country and Baldwin Area Medical Center.
Just 60 years ago, one out of three people diagnosed with cancer survived.
"Today, thanks in part to the American Cancer Society and Relay For Life events such as this, two out of three will survive," Foster said. "Let's make it three out of three. Join us in the fight."