Relay For Life enters its eight year in Lowell

By Tony Wittkowski | Contributing Reporter | The Lowell Ledger

The Red Arrow Football Stadium will see a rise in population when the fight against cancer comes back to Lowell in full swing.

With 26 teams currently signed up, Jerry Holmes anticipates more than 30 by the time Relay For Life begins at noon on Friday, June 21 to noon on Saturday, June 22.

Since the first Relay For Life in Lowell, more than $325,000 has been raised for the American Cancer Society and their ongoing fight against cancer.

“It’s a big thing for honoring cancer survivors,” Holmes said, who has been helping to prepare for the event. “It’s quite an inspiring event with a lap around the track with cancer survivors and their caregivers.”

The money collected will go to the American Cancer Society, which marks its 100th anniversary of existence.

ACS was known for being one of the first organizations who fought the fight to ban smoking in restaurants and public places across the country.

“Last year we raised $69,000, but it is very close to $30,000, which a year ago at this time we were not even close to,” Holmes said. “We are really hopeful we will pass our goal.”

The teams will host a number of fundraisers around the track including games, crafts and food with the goal of raising $64,500 in mind.

The family events available will include a bounce house, giant inflatable slide and a dunk tank on Friday and Saturday.

There are a number of individuals who make a commitment to walk all 24 hours, and some others that walk 12 hours during the relay, Holmes elaborated.

From 5 to 6 p.m. they will have a Pink Arrow “Power Hour,” with the opening ceremony and survivor celebration beginning right after.

Other events during the 24-hour Relay For Life will include the opening lap, a silent auction, a Cancer Survivor Dinner, the Miss Relay Competition with a pizza party on Friday night. Saturday will pay witness to a pancake breakfast and the event’s closing ceremonies.

One of the co-chairs for the Relay For Life committee is Lori Ingraham, who has helped set several goals and expectations going into this year for the cancer-fighting event.

“Every pledge that we get, every dollar that we raise could be the dollar that makes the difference,” Ingraham said.

One of the main nuances Ingraham has noticed over the years is the emotional and moving experience people have during the walk, who are either survivors or those who have lost loved ones to cancer.

“I can’t imagine there is anybody in Lowell or the world that hasn’t been affected,” Ingraham said. “It really allows us to get together and make an impact.”

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on June 5, 2013)