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Relay for Life kicks off fundraiser with 'Staying Alive'

January 29, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION
  • Cathy Beckley-Thomas, community manager for the local American Cancer Society office, watches the movie "Staying Alive" Sunday from rear of Leitersburg Cinema. The movie was part of a 70s-themed kickoff for the upcoming Relay for Life fundraiser to battle cancer, so she dressed in the spirt of the decade.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Tracey Rice of Smithsburg said she sat down and made a list of people she has known who survived cancer or who lost their lives to the disease.

“I stopped counting at about 42 people,” Rice said Sunday at a kickoff for this year’s Relay for Life of Washington County, an annual fundraiser to help fund the battle against cancer.

Feeling she needed to do something in honor of cancer victims she has known, Rice sought donations from friends and family members during the event last year to raise money for the cancer fight.

This year, Rice said she plans to expand her efforts by going to her neighbors to raise money for Relay for Life.

Rice was among about 63 people who attended Sunday’s kickoff event at Leitersburg Cinemas.

Started by a West Coast doctor in 1985, Relay for Life is now an international event that has raised more than $3 billion to battle cancer since it was started.

Although some people raise money through Relay for Life by walking in an event that goes through the night, funds are raised in a variety of other ways, including through bake sales and basket bingo, said Cathy Beckley-Thomas, community manager for the local American Cancer Society office.

This year’s Relay for Life walk event will be held June 15 and 16 at Hagerstown’s Fairgrounds Park.

Because this year’s Relay for Life has a 1970s theme, participants at Sunday’s kickoff were treated to the showing of the movie “Staying Alive” to get them pumped up for this year’s fundraiser, said event chairperson Trish Rowland.

Those attending the movie dressed in 1970s attire, including Rowland, who was donning a tie-dye T-shirt and a bushy red hairdo.

“This is not my real hair. You may have been fooled thinking it was,” Rowland said.

Rowland and Beckley-Thomas said about $183,000 was raised locally through the event last year, and the goal this year is to raise $200,000.

Also attending Sunday’s event was Jenn Webb of Greencastle, Pa., who was a team captain in last year’s event.

Webb said she felt compelled to participate in Relay for Life after knowing a lot of people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Among those people is a pharmacist at a local Target store at which Webb works.

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