Relay for Life kicks into gear

January 25, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

MAUGANSVILLE -- A hush fell over the room when Cory Eyler held up a piece of paper listing the symptoms he experienced five years ago when he learned he had colon cancer.

The paper was blank.

"Today I celebrate my life as I continue on my mission to reach out to all cancer survivors," Eyler said. "Don't let this monster catch you off guard."

At the Maugansville Ruritan Building Sunday afternoon, 30 to 35 organizers, team leaders and team members gathered to kick off the 2009 American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Washington County.

Their job is to build enthusiasm for this year's effort, which will begin Friday, June 19, at 7 p.m. at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds and conclude at 8 a.m. the next day.


Last year, 600 participants raised $136,500, according to Tom Sweeney, co-chairman of the 2008 and 2009 relays in Washington County.

For the past 25 years, Relay for Life participants have formed teams and gotten sponsors to donate money based on how many laps they walk throughout the night.

Each team must have at least one person walking at all times. Entertainment, games, activities and contests keeps the participants busy.

"Our goal this year is to have at least 55 teams and to raise $145,000, Sweeney said.

Worldwide, the 2008 campaign raised $420 million.

A veteran of four relays as a team member, Trish Rowland is serving her first year as co-chairwoman.

"My first year, I started a team of eight members and we raised $6,000 in a month," she said.

So far she has just two members and is hoping to hear from others who want to join up. She can be reached via e-mail at

Eyler, 55, has been involved in three relays and is a member of the Twigg Cycles team.

"There is a large community of survivors here and I want to be a part of that," he said.

All the money raised in Washington County and worldwide is aimed at ending cancer. The motto of the Relay for Life is that there is no finish line until a cure is found.

For more information, call 301-733-8272 or go to

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