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Come on and celebrate!

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By Kirsten Laskey

This year, Relay for Life is calling for more celebrations. Since the event benefits the American Cancer Society, a nation-wide volunteer health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer and prolonging life, this in turn means more birthdays, holidays and special occasions to recognize.

The celebration begins with a Relay for Life kick off event. A waffle breakfast will be held from 8-10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Masonic Lodge, located at the corner of 15th and Sage streets. Breakfast will be on the Masons; they will serve up waffles with berry toppings and whipped cream, scrambled eggs, orange juice and coffee. Tickets cost $6 a person and proceeds will go toward the Relay for Life.

The event is more than an opportunity to get a tasty meal; it is also a chance to get involved in the Relay for Life activities.

People can sign up for relay teams or just get information about the event.

The Relay for Life will be held on June 25-26 at Ashley Pond.

Since most of the fundraising happens before the big event, Cindy Eaton, Relay for Life co-chair, said, “(Relay for Life) is really a celebration. All Relay events are celebrations.”

The second co-chair, Alan Wadlinger, agreed. The event celebrates the completion of fundraising, “so it’s a big party for the community.”

Participants will run, jog or walk around the pond for 24 hours. Since cancer never sleeps, neither will the relay participants. A survivors’ dinner and fun activities including sumo wrestling, Jolly Jumpers, will be featured throughout the two-days.

Even though there is still work to do before this year’s big celebration, the fundraising efforts will still be made fun.

Wadlinger joked that they host the breakfast because food brings people out. Besides, with Valentines’ Day the following day, it’s an opportunity for couples to do some pre-holiday celebrating, he added.

Eaton said the breakfast enjoyed a “wonderful” turnout last year. “It was really great last year. We’re looking for people interested in becoming part of a team or forming a team to come to the breakfast.”

The breakfast kicks off fundraising work toward this year’s campaign goal, which is $50,000. Another goal is to garner 25 relay teams.

The Relay for Life started 26 years ago in Seattle. A doctor wanted to raise money so he ran all night at a high school track.

Since then, Easton said, it has grown to almost every city in the U.S.

For more information about the local Relay for Life event, e-mail Eaton at cindy.eaton@att.net.