Claire Kowroski

Thousands come out for Rockford Relay for Life

May 24, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER Thousands of people joined together at Rockford’s Relay for Life to raise money to fight cancer, to celebrate survival from the disease or to remember a loved one who lost their battle to cancer. Area residents could show their support in a variety of ways from raising pledges for walking to temporarily coloring their hair a bright color, painting their face, playing Plinko or other games, enjoying fresh squeezed lemonade, eating food items and baked goods, buying a variety of products, bidding on items at silent auctions or attending one of the ceremonies. The $347,958.72 raised will be used by the American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer. The 10th Annual Rockford Relay for Life began at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 18 and concluded on Saturday, May 19 after 24 hours. According to Shannon Ouellette—who served as committee chair for the first nine years and currently is on the committee as well as the City of Rockford and Rockford Schools liaison—the individual team that raised the most money was Team Terminatin’ Cancer. Their team raised $22,000. Some people supported the Relay for Life by walking and gathering pledges or by making purchases with donations going to the American Cancer Society. Others just came out to support walkers or survivors or just as a show of support for the 24-hour walk that also serves as an awareness opportunity. Deb Pomarius, one of the co-captains of the East Rockford Middle School (ERMS) team, was busy selling used books, duct tape creations such as wallets, cell phone cases and hair bows made by students Karlee Kaminga and Kaitlyn Schovey as well as jewelry made by Kim Klaes Jewelry, which donated several pieces, and other items. ERMS was among the dozens of teams that had a tent at the event. Teams ranged from schools to businesses, to friends putting together a team to honor someone who lost their battle to cancer, to teams supporting a friend fighting cancer, to those who just wanted to do their part in the battle against the disease. Brett Riebschleger, a seventh-grader at East Rockford Middle School, was among the 95 people who registered to walk for 24 hours. He was walking as he had a friend who […]

Rockford schools rally around Relay—Part I

May 17, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER This article is a summary of what each school in Rockford Public Schools has come up with to contribute to the Rockford Relay for Life. Encouraging each school to organize their own fundraiser has been a goal of Relay organizers from year one. This Friday through Saturday, May 18-19, from 3 p.m. to 3 p.m. is the town’s 10th Relay for Life event. Rockford plans to celebrate a decade of having a Relay for Life event to raise money to fight cancer this weekend, and a key segment involved is the Rockford school district. According to Shannon Ouellette—who served as committee chair for the first nine years and currently is on the committee as well as the City of Rockford and Rockford Public Schools (RPS) liaison—the school district raises between $60,000 and $80,000 of the total raised yearly. The goal of the Relay for Life this year is to again raise between $340,000 and $360,000. “Our financial goal in these economic times is to stay consistent with monies raised the past few years,” Ouellette said. “Most relays will peak at year five or so and then show a decline. We have been able to maintain consistently in the mid threes, so we are happy with that.” “In the past nine years we have raised nearly 2.9 million so we will top the three million mark this year,” she added. Ouellette was on the committee for a few years for the Ada Park Relay for Life before helping to start the Relay for Life in Rockford in 2002. “Participation from schools range from administration, bus garage, sports teams, clubs and every year almost every school is represented with a team from elementary through high school,” Ouellette said. “Our school teams are key to our success for sure.” Besides being involved while in school, many Rockford graduates then go on to participate at Relay for Life events on their college campuses. Bringing in new members to the Relay for Life is important to the future, Ouellette said. “The youth have been such a strong and positive aspect of our event. They volunteer at the event, such as help with parking and entertainment, as well as be a part of teams.” Ouellette said RPS […]