East Wake Relay relies on community support

amoody@newsobserver.comMay 11, 2013 

— The chairperson of East Wake Relay for Life is keeping tabs on two important things with just a handful of days left until the annual event – participation and precipitation.

The weather, Vickie Curtis said, is projected to cooperate for the local Relay, scheduled for this Friday, May 17, at Five County Stadium.

“You know I’m looking – I start looking the week before (Relay) and watching it,” Curtis said Wednesday of the weather forecast. “We should be in good shape next week.”

The number of participants in the event and the amount of money they collect to support the American Cancer Society’s research and family support programs, however, are things the event can never have enough of. Sitting on just over half its fundraising target a week before the event, East Wake Relay is hoping for a big push toward meeting its goal this week.

This year’s fundraising goal is $113,000, close to the amount the event raised last year. As of last week, a little over $62,600 had been collected. That money is used to fund research and to provide support to cancer victims and their families.

The Relay had 22 teams on board at that time, about the same amount as in recent years, according to Curtis.

“We had some teams that didn’t return and we have some new teams,” she said. “But we’re always looking for new teams to join us, even the week before. We had a team join us two weeks before Relay last year and they raised $300 – $300 we didn’t have before they joined.”

Last year, Curtis joked that she barely had room to list about 70 corporate sponsors on the back of the local Relay T-shirts. The joke has intensified this year, as the American Cancer Society will have to fit 85 corporate sponsors on the latest print of the shirts.

“I also told ACS they could start printing across the front and the sleeves too if needed,” Curtis said. “Our goal is bring in the sponsors. It’s their job to figure out how to get them on the shirt.”

At the highest level of sponsorship are the Town of Zebulon and the Carolina Mudcats organization, which provide the space and more for the annual event.

There are currently seven Silver-level sponsors (donating $1,000 or more), nine Bronze sponsors ($500-999) and 65 Donor sponsors ($250-499).

There are also 25 additional sponsors that made contributions of money, products or services through the individual Relay teams.

Curtis said the local Relay keeps operating expenses within reason, spending about $1,800 to put on the event, thanks to the efforts of its committee and teams in soliciting support and the response they get from the local communities.

“Without those folks supporting us with their donations, and the community coming together as a whole with their team fundraisers and at the May 17 event, we could not do Relay,” she said. “I need them to realize how much we appreciate them.”

The event is seeking walkers to keep feet on the Relay track throughout the night Friday, but is really interested in finding friends and creating lasting relationships.

“If you’re thinking about joining Relay, come out and observe us, talk to the teams that are there and figure out what it’s all about,” Curtis said. “That way (you) might be able to make a better decision about joining us next year – by creating a team.”

The gates will open for the event this Friday at 5 p.m., opening ceremonies will begin at 5:50. Luminaries and torches can be purchased and donations made online at www.relayforlife.org/eastwake.

Moody: 919-829-4806

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