Kickoff event planned for Niles-Buchanan Relay for Life

Published 9:11 am Monday, February 8, 2016

Leader file photo Survivors walk around the Niles High School track during the 2015 Niles Buchanan Relay for Life.

Leader file photo
Survivors walk around the Niles High School track during the 2015 Niles Buchanan Relay for Life.

Anyone interested in helping fight back against cancer is encouraged to attend the kickoff meeting for the 2016 Niles-Buchanan Relay for Life this week.

The event is scheduled to take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the rotunda at the Niles District Library, 620 E. Main St. in Niles.

“We want to get the ball rolling and encourage people to start thinking about how they can fight back against cancer in their area,” said Cody Waters, community manager for local Relay for Life events. “We are fundraising to make a difference in the community and to empower people.”

The theme of this year’s event is Dr. Seuss, so participants are encouraged to dress up like any of the characters from the popular children’s book series for the kickoff.

“Dr. Seuss is about having fun and being serious while also teaching an important message,” he said. “Cancer: not here, not there, not anywhere.”

Tuesday’s kickoff will be in an open-house style format. People will have the opportunity to learn about sponsorships, how to operate a team, how to plan event activities and what the fight is all about.

“We want to show them that one person can make a very large difference,” he said.

In Berrien County alone, there are predicted to be 1,007 new diagnoses of cancer in 2016, according to projections from the American Cancer Society. Of the newly diagnosed, 390 are not expected to live.

Waters said events like the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, which raises money for cancer research and programs, are helping bring those numbers down.

“We want to continue eliminate the number of people dying and being diagnosed with cancer,” he said.

This year’s Niles-Buchanan Relay for Life event is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday, July 16 at the Niles High School football field.

On that day, people in teams will take turns walking around the track until the conclusion of the event. There will also be a number of activities taking place throughout the day to celebrate survivors and remember those who died of cancer.

Nearly $60,000 was raised during last year’s event, which was shortened due to inclement weather.

Waters said they’ve set a goal of $70,000 for this year.

Future Niles-Buchanan Relay for Life team engagement meetings will be held at 6 p.m. at Niles New Tech on the following dates: Feb. 16, March 15, April 19, May 17, June 21 and July 22.