Planning for this year’s Relay for Life, slated for Friday through Saturday, May 20 to 21, begins with a kick-off meeting Thursday, February 10 at 6 p.m. at Wolverine World Wide headquarters. Teams are encouraged to sign up now. The 24-hour fundraiser for the American Cancer Society is held at North Rockford Middle School beginning with a 3 p.m. first lap. This year’s theme is Relaying for More Birthdays. For more information about Relay for Life call Kelly Lipe at (616) 866-2936.
Relay For Life
The inspiration for the Rockford girls lacrosse team to do this came from former Rockford lacrosse player Alysse Tefft, who is a cancer survivor. In the middle of her 24 hours at Relay for Life in 2008, Tefft left the Relay to compete in a lacrosse game and then immediately returned to complete her 24 hours. Her dedication and determination to beat cancer motivated the entire lacrosse program to step up. The Rockford players will be wearing pink jerseys with the name of a person they would like to honor. Some of these are valiant fighters and survivors—some who continue to battle this illness. There are courageous others who may have lost the battle. Proceeds from event sales and sponsorships will be donated to Rockford Relay for Life. Donations will be gladly accepted and may be made near the admissions gate. Support Rockford Relay for Life through Rockford girls lacrosse at the Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium on Saturday, May 15. Games start at 11 a.m. • • •
Pink teeth are popping up everywhere in the Rockford area. And it’s all because of one orthodontist Dr. Mark Brieden. “We’re having a lot of fun with it. My wife, Dixie, came up with the idea and, with the help of the whole staff, we’re doing something positive to help fight breast cancer,” said Brieden. “We are asking all of our patients to wear pink ties on their braces. For each patient that agrees, Brieden Orthdontics is making a donation to Relay for Life. It’s more of a challenge for the men and boys, but they seem to be glad to help us in this worthy cause and search for a cure.”
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 […]
Five City staff to walk 24 hours in honor of officer diagnosed with lymphoma Rockford police officer Ian Graham isn’t sure how long he’ll be at this year’s Relay For Life, which begins at 3 p.m. Friday, May 15. He thinks he’ll still be pretty sick from Wednesday’s chemo treatment. The 30-year-old husband and father of one (with one on the way) was diagnosed 12 weeks ago with Hodgekin’s lymphoma. As a show of support, five co-workers at Rockford City Hall-including City Manager Michael Young-will be 24-hour walkers at Relay. Hired by the Rockford Police Department a year ago, Graham is just one story of many that are represented by the hundreds of people who attend Rockford Relay For Life. This year will also be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for anyone who desires to become part of cancer-fighting history. Rockford was chosen from over 5,000 communities to help sign up a half million people in a lifetime wellness study. It takes only a few minutes, a little blood and will only be available from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday at Relay, which is held at North Rockford Middle School. Dr. Shibler, Rockford school superintendant, will be the first to sign up, Young will be the second. For Graham, being diagnosed with cancer proved to him how much support is appreciated while fighting the disease. As a newer employee, he didn’t have many sick days. He figured he’d have to take days off following chemo without pay. Rockford Police Chief Dave Jones wouldn’t hear of it. He enlisted City Treasurer Kim McKay to see what could be done. McKay sent out an email asking if other City workers would donate their sick days to Graham. Before the week was out there were 296 hours of sick leave donated to Graham. Chief Jones said Graham has been able to continue working, only missing days following chemotherapy. “He does his best and he’s in the best of spirits,” Jones said. Graham said he feels optimistic about his prognosis, and being in law enforcement has probably better prepared him than most people to hear they have cancer. “As an officer, we know there may be a day we don’t come home. It’s a thought process we’ve […]