By RICK HAYES
Under new local leadership, the Jefferson County Relay for Life will kickoff its 2013 campaign with an organizational meeting Feb. 25.
The kickoff will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Mother Odelia Room in the medical complex building at Good Samaritan Regional Health Center. The event is sponsored by Orion Petro Corp., based in Mt. Vernon.
“It’s an open house style. All team captains, team members, committee members and anyone interested in learning how to get involved in the fight against cancer are invited,” said Relay for Life Chairman Angela Withrow. “You can pick up team materials or register a new team. We’ll have someone there and Internet access to register the teams on location,” Withrow said.
Refreshments will be served and free giveaways will be presented.
“If anyone has recently known someone or has been affected by cancer we’ll have information available and on the services that ACS provides,” Withrow added.
Last summer, 22 teams participated in Relay for Life. A goal of $80,000 for this year’s campaign has been established. The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. June 14-15 at Mt. Vernon Township High School’s J.D. Shields Stadium.
Withrow is taking over the chairmanship from last year’s co-chairs Tina Staples and Melody Zoeckler. Withrow explained her involvement in the program.
“Last year was my first year of having a team, and at the end of the season I was asked to see if I would be willing to go a little further with it. I was happy to accept the chairmanship,” Withrow said. “Last year my father-in-law [Harlan Withrow] passed away from kidney cancer so this is my way of honoring his memory. I would like to see a world where people don’t have to lose their life to this disease.”
Tyler Toyota is sponsoring other Relay for Life fundraising events — at 9 a.m. May 4 a 5-K Pirates of the Cureibean run/walk will commence from the Rend Lake Visitors Center; and a Bark for Life pet-friendly event will be held. Plans for a quarter auction and Taste of Hope are also under way.
“Relay for Life is a life-changing event that everyone in the community is invited to come and celebrate the lives of people that has battled cancer and to remember loves ones we’ve lost to cancer and to fight back against the disease,” Withrow said. “We do it overnight because cancer never sleeps. It is a relay event, not a race.”
More information on the local organization is available online at relayforlife.org/jeffersonil or by visiting the organization’s Facebook page. Withrow may also be contacted at (618) 237-8469.