Ready to battle cancer

Published 5:10 pm Wednesday, June 16, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- As Niles-Buchanan Relay For Life teams prepare for next month's event, their fundraising efforts are now in full swing.
With 40 relay teams on board so far, people across the area are rallying together to raise money and awareness for cancer.
One of those teams recently secured the donation of an autographed pair of boxing gloves from Muhammad Ali to use as a fundraising tool. They are selling raffle tickets for the gloves for $10 each at the Back Door Cafe, 115 N. Red Bud Trail and at Petals and Blooms, 4796 Niles-Buchanan Road.
The team behind this fundraiser is the Buchanan Back Door Cafe and Cops team, which is made up of people from the cafe, the Buchanan Police Department and the Petals and Blooms flower shop.
Through creative fundraisers like the boxing gloves raffle, the team has already raised more than $3,000 and is shooting for $5,000 before this year's relay, which will take place on July 24 and 25 at the Niles High School track.
One of the team's members, Mile Gorbitz, has already sold more than $1,000 in raffle tickets for the Relay For Life's official raffle.
Some of the team's other fundraisers include an event called Coffee with Cops at the Back Door Cafe, in which Buchanan police officers wait tables for two hours at a time with all of their tips going toward Relay For Life.
The team is also collecting donations through a swear jar at the cafe and a golf outing planned for this Saturday at Brookwood. And these are just a few of the things the team is doing to raise money.
Stephanie Clevenger-McGowan, co-chair of the Buchanan Back Door Cafe and Cops team, said they came up with creative fundraisers to spark more participation in the community.
Niles-Buchanan Relay For Life chairperson Tammy Tallis said one of the reasons the event is so important is it brings cancer to the public forefront.
Last year, the Niles-Buchanan Relay For Life combined with the Stevensville Relay For Life to raise moe than $130,000, making Berrien County the second most successful effort per capita in the country.
Tallis is pleased with the enthusiasm of the teams' efforts so far this year.
Each individual team participating in the event helps to raise money through Relay For Life's fundraising activities and through their own ideas.
Relay For Life's official fundraisers include:
Tallis said the teams' individual fundraisers include events like garage sales, golf outings, bake sales and pot lucks dinners to name a few.
For information on the Niles-Buchanan Relay For Life, call Tammy Tallis at (269) 424-5869 or visit For those interested in donating through raffle tickets, call Melissa Willbrandt at (269) 687-3074.