By Jennifer Huff
There are some big changes for both the Kentwood and Wyoming Relay for Life events: the two have combined and this year, the Relay for Life of Kentwood/Wyoming will be at the Metro Health – University of Michigan Health/
The signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society will be from noon to 10 p.m. Friday, May 19 at the Metro Health Village, located 5900 Byron Center Ave. SW.
“For the first time, we’re combining the Wyoming and Kentwood relays into one,” said event committee member Laura Smith, director of The Metro Health – University of Michigan Cancer Center. “We’re looking forward to a high-energy day that brings the community together to remember loved ones and honor survivors.”
Organizers of the event hope to raise at least $30,000, all of which will go to the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.
“Our theme is ‘We is greater than me,’” said Julie Helm, officer manager of Metro Health Ear, Nose and Throat, who also serves on the Relay for Life committee and is herself a cancer survivor. “There’s not a person you meet that hasn’t been touched by cancer, which is why this event is so important. The involvement of so many participants and organizations underscores how the fight against cancer happens on a personal level and a community level.”
Relay for Life events traditionally consist of teams whose members take turns walking around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to symbolize that cancer never takes a break.
This year, Relay for Life of Wyoming/Kentwood also invites individuals to participate, either by registering online or simply showing up the day of the event.
“We’re privileged to welcome the community to our campus and want to be sure there are no barriers to participation,” said Floyd Wilson Jr., chief administrative officer of Metro Health – University of Michigan Health. “Hosting Relay for Life is one way we can embrace our role as the hub of community wellness.”
The day also will feature a number of booths, games, classes, and special events at Metro Health Village.
“When not walking laps, participants will have plenty of opportunities for education and entertainment,” Helm says. “And even if you’re not walking, we invite you to stop by and enjoy the happenings.”
The day’s activities will kick off with the Kelloggsville High School Marching leading everyone on the first lap. Afternoon activities include a paint and pour canvas party at 2 p.m. with activities really getting underway around 6 p.m. with the survivor/caregiver dinner.
Other activities include:
· The Metro Health Mammobus will be on site all day for tours and free mammography screenings.
· A bevy of booths will be on hand, including a photo booth, cancer education awareness booth, and relaxation station featuring yoga and massage.
· A daylong silent auction—from 1-7:30 p.m.
· Wyoming’s Got Talent at 7:30 p.m. with a panel of judges featuring Eric Zane from WBBL FM 1340
· A dance party with band at 9:30 p.m.
The luminaria lap, Relay for Life’s most moving tradition, will take place just before the dance party. Walkers will be guided along their path by hundreds of luminarias lit to remind those touched by cancer that they’re not alone.
The traditional survivor and caregiver reception will also take place during the event. Those interested in participating in this reception need to RSVP.
For the complete schedule of events, please visit the event’s Facebook page (Relay for Life of Wyoming/Kentwood).