Relay for Life expecting more than 1,000 to walk, give this weekend

Published 3:21 pm Friday, July 13, 2007

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES – More than 1,000 Niles and Buchanan men, women and children are expected to walk, talk, eat, and otherwise have lots of fun for 24 hours beginning at noon on Saturday – all for a good cause.
Niles-Buchanan Relay for Life kicks off at that time with opening ceremonies at the Niles High School football stadium and track.
Tammy Tallis, chairperson for this 10th year of the event here, said the goal of the event is two-fold.
"Survivors are our inspiration. That's what we're shooting for, working to help people survive cancer. But, it's a lot of fun, too, meeting new people and getting involved in your community," she said.
Tallis and her committee of about 25 began planning for this year's event last fall. Their goal is to raise about $140,000, $10,000 more than last year's $130,000.
The Niles-Buchanan Relay for Life group has a strong history of accomplishments.
"Niles-Buchanan placed sixth in the national per capita last year," Tallis said. "We have always been in the top 10. We're working hard to come in much higher this year."
Funds from the event go to the American Cancer Society and are used for research and advocacy, she said.
"If there is some kind of preventative or cure, it's going to help us all out. We're all going to benefit from that," Tallis said.
In addition to family and friends of those who have suffered with cancer, 53 Niles area businesses have contributed to Relay for Life here, either through monetary donations or by sponsoring a team who will participate in the event on Saturday and Sunday.
Relay for Life will feature a variety of activities for all ages, including blow-up jumping castles for children and dunk tanks for those a little older.
However, the highlight of the event is the luminaria ceremony set for 10 p.m. Saturday. The word "Hope" is spelled out in the visitors' stands using candles in paper bags, known as luminaria. Luminaria will also outline the field's track.
"It's going to be a beautiful ceremony. It's a time of remembrance for those who lost their lives, a time of reflection for those people who are going throught it," Tallis said.