Relay for Life money raised stays in community

ALPENA – The Relay for Life is a way to raise money to help the American Cancer Society fund research and ultimately, hopefully, find a cure for cancer. The walk takes place all over the country and this weekend it will be held in Alpena.

For many years the event – which people walk to support the cause and the survivors of the disease – was held at the fairgrounds, but this year it will be held on Fletcher Street on the edge of the Thunder Bay River. The hope is by having the event closer to downtown, more people will take part in it. Lisa West, tri-chairperson for the local relay, said there is a misconception that the money raised does not stay in the Alpena community. She said that is not necessarily the case. She said any strides made toward treatment solutions and finding a cure benefit people in Alpena who have cancer. She said she would like to see many new faces this year.

“I hope this move helps to spread the word that anyone can take part in it and that you don’t have to be part of a team, a survivor or a caregiver to take part,” West said. “At the end of the day this is about research and finding a cure. Leaps and bounds have been made and those strides help people everywhere with cancer.”

There will be special walks that take place over the event. There will be a survivor walk that takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday and a luminary walk to celebrate the lives that were claimed by the disease. West said she is excited about the new location and new participants.

“Part of our mission is to educate and I hope the new location can bring more people in and ultimately they will learn something,” West said.

There will be entertainment scattered thoughout the relay, as musical acts Music 4 You and Charlie and the Bourbons are scheduled to perform. West said the relay is a great event for people of all ages.

“This is very serious, but we also want people to have a good time and to celebrate,” West said. “There will be a lot going on. People can come and stay up for 24 hours straight and walk, or drop by and walk a lap. The more people that take part the better it is going to be. The city has been great and have supported this from the start. They helped make this possible. We want this event to become part of Alpena’s fabric, because it isn’t going anywhere. We hope we get new people and that it will grow and we can expand it.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com.