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Rockford most succesful Relay in the nation

May 21, 2009 // 0 Comments

  In seventh year, American Cancer Society event tops $2 million When the American Cancer Society (ACS) promotes Relay For Life, they will be using Rockford to do it. Videographers and photographers from the national organization were on hand this past Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16. The images they captured will appear in brochures, commercials and other promotional material. “They realized we have something special here,” said organizer Carol Delp-Korzeja. Carol said the story of Rockford’s Relay, this year the seventh, is inspirational.   It is also nothing short of amazing that Relay ’09 brought in $336,992, bringing the seven-year total to  $2.1 million. There were over 300 cancer survivors (up from 263 last year) at the survivor reception and  84 teams participated (up from 77 last year). The top money-raising team was Friends For Life, which raised $24,000.   There is a story behind every person who chooses to participate in Relay For Life. This year five City of Rockford employees, including the City Manager Michael Young, walked the whole 24 hours to show support for police officer Ian Graham, diagnosed with lymphoma this spring.   Carol shared another story that should give goose bumps to even the most hard-hearted. Rockford’s Relay was started by good friends Shannon Oulette and Brent Deuel. Shannon had lost her mom, Paula Banfield, to cancer. Shannon’s brother, Jason Banfield, recently lost his mother-in-law to cancer. Jason’s son, Carson Banfield, having lost two grandmothers to cancer before the age of 9, decided to raise money this year by writing letters to everyone he knows, asking for donations for ACS. His efforts alone netted over $1,600.     “This is a third-generation Relayer,” said Carol. Carson received a Relay Champion award this year for his efforts. “Our kids are becoming our next generation of Relayers. We bring them and they see what it’s all about.”   Rockford Relay has enjoyed the strong support of both the Rockford School District and the City. On the committee from day one were both Young and Rockford Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler. Rockford has teams from every school in the district and has always had a City team. This year there were 84 teams participating, up from 77 last year, and the event […]