Relay for Life of Rockford

Rockford Relay For Life celebrates 10 years

May 10, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CAROL DELP-KURZEJA Relay For Life of Rockford will be celebrating their 10-year anniversary next weekend, from 3 p.m. Friday, May 18, to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 19, with this year’s theme being “Color a Cure.” We can’t believe that it has been 10 years since that small group of new, inexperienced committee members set up the track at North Rockford Middle School, hoping someone would show up for the first annual Relay For Life of Rockford, 2003. Not only were we concerned that many wouldn’t come to this largely unknown event, but we also didn’t know how many teams would participate or whether we could raise much money for the American Cancer Society (ACS). None of us got much sleep that Thursday night; we pulled out our camping gear, packed our bags and laid out our most comfortable shoes for the next 40 hours of the “unknown.” At that time, most first-year Relays had a couple hundred people attend, approximately 10 teams participate, and usually raised around $15,000. We should have known better. This is Rockford, where we often supersede expectations. This quaint, small town blew away the national competition and amazed the ACS with its record-breaking crowds, 40 teams and over $140,000 raised—all in our first attempt at a Relay. You know what the signs say upon entering our city limits: “Welcome to Rockford. Discover the Charm.” Maybe the signs should read, “Welcome to Rockford. Discover the Energy!” or maybe, “Hold On To Your Hats!” Seriously, this community never ceases to amaze and inspire me. In 2011, we had over 80 teams participate (16 teams have been with us since our first year), welcomed over 10,000 people in just 24 hours, honored over 300 survivors, and with 2011’s $340,000, we have raised over $2.8 million for the ACS. Our top team, Terminatin’ Cancer, raised almost $24,000. We had a 10-year-old raise over $1,000 on his own. Not bad results, especially during this tough economic period. Rockford’s statistics are impressive, yet we are not done. As long as people continue to hear the words, “You have cancer,” we must continue our fight and strive to meet our own, self-imposed, Rockford goals. If we meet our goal for 2012, it will put us at over […]