More than 30 years ago, Dr. Gordy Klatt circled a track for 24 consecutive hours to raise money for cancer research. This year, Princeton will be joining the initiative he started by hosting the town’s first-ever Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society.
Spearheaded by a local organization, The Virtuous Ladies Association, the event is scheduled for 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, Oct. 6, at Jackie Hendricks Stadium. Organizers have set a goal to have 20 teams, 20 survivors, 20 caregivers, 20 sponsors and 10 performers participate.
“We got involved with Relay for Life because of how cancer has affected our community,” said Michelle Johnson with VLA, which has membership at PHS. “We, as an organization, thought it would be good to bring it to Princeton to bring awareness to cancer and those that are currently fighting the fight, survivors and caregivers. It is a way to bring the community together for a good cause.”
Relay for Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and is coordinated by volunteers in more than 5,200 communities.
“The mission of VLA is to provide unique experiences that will fuel members in improving the community through effective action, leadership, volunteering and mentoring – together for a good cause,” Johnson said.
This events falls in line with the mission of VLA, which was founded to establish a network that believes it can, and will, make a difference.
“This year, Princeton will host our very own Relay for Life,” organizer and VLA member Rachella Fannin said. “We want to show some P-town pride and use this opportunity to show our family members or friends how much we support them in their fight or honor those by continuing to fight when they know longer can.”
Relay for Life is a team event where members take turns walking around the track.
“I know when many hear the word relay, they think running is involved, but really this relay is about the exchange process and keeping the baton of hope going,” Fannin said. “Each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps.”
Although this is the first Relay for Life hosted in Princeton, it’s not the first time Princeton has joined the Relay for Life efforts. The National Honor Society at PHS adopted the McKinney event as one of its primary charities in 2016.
“Relay for Life is a great opportunity for the community to get together to raise money for a very good cause and participate in an awesome event that supports and celebrates cancer survivors and caregivers,” said Lindsey Tarby, past NHS president and 2016 Relay for Life organizer. “One of the mottos is, ‘cancer patients don’t stop because they’re tired, and for one night, neither do we.’”
According to Fannin, teams can sign up now for the Princeton event Oct. 6, which is the Panthers bye week.
“They should come up with a team name and have a positive attitude and willingness to have fun as a community,” she said. “These year’s theme is, ‘Game Over Cancer.’ So let’s get teams together and raise funds and awareness for cancer research. This event will be a 12-hour party.”
According to the American Cancer Society, each team is encouraged to set up a themed campsite at the event and continue their fundraising efforts by collecting donations for food, goods, games and activities. This money will count toward their overall team fundraising goal.
“Teams can do booths and have a lot of fun activities,” Tarby said.
To join the fight, visit RelayForLife.org/PrincetonTX.
By Jean Ann Collins • PISD Communications Coordinator • [email protected]
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