MENDOTA - Can you believe it? This year’s Relay For Life in Mendota is almost here.
Local volunteers have devoted much of their time, talents and energy over the past several months preparing for this weekend’s American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Upper Illinois Valley to be held on Saturday, July14 at Mendota High School. The great thing about this fundraiser is that much of the money raised remains in LaSalle County to help and support area cancer patients and their caregivers.
On average, 183 Illinoisans are diagnosed with cancer and 67 Illinoisans die every day in from cancer.
Relay For Life is an event that brings the community together in the fight against cancer to celebrate the lives of those who have cancer, remember those lost to the disease, and fight back against a disease that takes too much. Teams of local businesses, schools, churches, community groups and families raise funds - prior to and at the event – to support cancer research to help find cures and to provide local programs aimed at helping people stay well, get well and fight back. The opening ceremony begins at 6 p.m. and the closing ceremony will begin at midnight.
This family-friendly event is open to everyone. Whether you take in the entertainment for a couple of hours, walk the “track,” buy raffle chances or eat at one of the food vendors, please make plans to support your Relay For Life of Upper Illinois Valley and their efforts to eliminate this awful disease forever.
Entertainment will be provided throughout the entire event with many activities, including children’s games and activities available before 10 p.m. on Saturday night. It is a fun night for the entire community, not just the teams and walkers. Anyone not walking for a team, please stop by and take advantage of the food and entertainment.
To see more details about this weekend, go online to www. relayforlife.org/uivil. It is not too late to register as a team or individual for this event. Go to the same website and follow their directions for registering.
This year, there will be raffles for a $10,000 kitchen make-over provided by Starved Rock Wood Products of Mendota, an iPad, and a new bicycle. Additional raffle items include sports team tickets, car maintenance supplies, pizza for a year by Rosati’s and so much more.
Relay For Life of Upper Illinois Valley starts with local cancer survivors uniting to walk the first lap of the event. They are then joined by family, friends and co-workers; the caregivers who helped them through their battle with cancer. New this year is a Hero lap to recognize those who serve our community including police officers, firefighters, EMTs, military (veterans or currently serving), and medical personnel including physicians, nurses and all ancillary services. All those in the hero lap are invited to wear their uniform for the lap. Special laps and recognition will take place throughout the evening. Wheelchairs will be available free of charge. Seating around the lap track is also provided for those needing a rest.
The Survivor’s Dinner which begins at 4:30 p.m. that day is provided free for all survivors plus one caregiver as their guest. Pre-registration is appreciated but not required. Go online to register now. The dinner is being donated by Olive Garden of Peru.
The Luminaria Ceremony will be held at 9 p.m. to honor and remember loved ones. Honorees include survivors, caregivers and those who have lost their battle against the disease. Hundreds of luminaria will line the track and light the gym to remind participants of the incredible importance of their loves ones’ contributions. Luminaria, for a donation of $10 each, are available by calling Brenda Grobe at (815) 993-1625 or by going online to www.RelayforLife.uivil. They will also be available beginning at 3 p.m. the day of Relay.
Relay For Life helps fund the American Cancer Society’s efforts to advance cancer prevention, treatment, patient services and cures. This includes the Society’s Patient Navigation Services program, designed to fill a critical void in heath care and social services by acting as a full-service navigator to anyone touched by cancer. The services provided by the American Cancer Society include transportation assistance to treatments; discounted lodging at hotels for patients who need to travel to receive care; insurance coverage assistance; resource matching and referrals; and cosmetic help such as free wigs or headware for patients who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy. The Society also offers cancer information and access to support groups at www.IllinoisCancerHelp.org.