The Cancer Crusaders make their way around the midway track at the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds during prior Relay for Life.
June 06, 2018IMLAY CITY — The Lapeer County Relay for Life returns to the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 9.
The annual American Cancer Society fundraiser kicks off with the traditional opening ceremony at 10 a.m. As the fundraising process winds down, organizers continue to welcome new teams, individuals and organizations willing to help wage the war against cancer.
Thus far, participating Lapeer County Relay teams have raised more than $23,000 for the cause.
Listed at the top of this year's fundraising teams are perennial leaders, Ray C's, with $8,685; and Team Weingartz Warriors, who have raised a total $7,748.
Other top fundraising teams, thus far, include Hawaiian Dreamers, Team SUPERHope, Rays of Hope, West Deerfield United Methodist Church, The Ellis Angels, First Congregational United Church of Christ and Perseverance.
The top individual fundraiser is Lisa Hunter, who has thus far raised $1,019. Other individual leaders are Mary Woody, Allen Weingartz, Karen Hart, Annette Ferrett, Pat Arnaud, Dianne Blakely, Daniel Dennis, Jeff Weingartz and Dorothy Dennis.
Event Chairperson Karen Hart encourages all community members to stop by the fairgrounds on Saturday to show their support for friends, neighbors and loved ones affected by the disease.
She said donations of any size are welcome and will be used to fund continuing cancer research and for patient care programs.
Live music will be provided throughout the day, and all are invited to bid on donated items in this year's 'silent auction,' which runs from 3-5:30 p.m.
Fun for kids, too
For children in attendance, organized games, a bounce house and other activities will be available.
And to honor local U.S. military veterans, a Veterans Lap has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
In keeping with Relay for Life tradition, special laps will be dedicated to cancer survivors and caregivers, starting at 6 p.m. Light snacks will be provided participants at 6:30 p.m.
At dusk (around 9:45 p.m.), Relay organizers will host the Luminaria Ceremony, a ceremony of remembrance and hope.
Organizers say the ceremony is a way to honor both survivors and those who have lost the battle to cancer.
Karen Hart said she and her daughter, Leah, joined the Relay for Life team in 2003 after her husband was diagnosed with cancer.
After serving as a team captain for many years, Hart moved to the positions of entertainment chair and "lead chair."
"It is a lot of work, but I find it very rewarding to know that we are helping find a cure," said Hart. "I have met so many nice people. Somehow, your problems aren't so bad when you see and hear others tell their stories of how cancer has affected their lives.
"Relay gives me the unique opportunity to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer; to remember loved ones lost; and to support the American Cancer Society.
"My favorite part of Relay," said Hart, "is hearing the bell ring as survivors walk past."
To make a donation to the 2018 Lapeer County Relay for Life, visit the website or contact Karen Hart at 810-656-8771.
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.