By Bryan Fife
The American Cancer Society will hold two Relay For Life fundraisers in Utah County this month.
The first ever South Utah County Relay For Life will be held at Payson High School on June 16-17. The Central Utah County Relay for Life will take place at Mountain View High School’s track, in Orem, on June 23-24.
Both events will last 18 hours beginning Friday evening at 6:00 and ending Saturday at noon.
South Utah County Relay for Life co-chairman Jennifer Clark said the event is open to the public and will honor those we have lost to cancer as well as be a celebration for those who have survived it.
Clark said that the monetary goal for the South County relay is $20,000.
According to Clark, 13 teams with more than eight people will participate in the event. Some teams have 17 people.
Clark said teams for both events do not raise money by the number of laps they run or walk. The teams raise money before the relay.
Each team member was challenged to raise $100 any way possible, such as through donations or service projects, Clark said.
One year a team of four married couples attending BYU raised $2600 for the Central Utah County Relay — the most a Utah team has ever raised, Clark said.
This team e-mailed friends and relatives to raise the money, Clark said.
Lisa Archibald, the Central Utah County Relay for Life Chairman, said there will be more than 50 teams of eight to 12 people participating in this year’s Central County event and that it is not too late to get a team together and register.
Archibald also said more volunteers are needed for the event.
Those interested in registering a team or volunteering for the Central County Relay for Life in Orem should call Tony Tomlinson at 373-5886, or Lisa Archibald at 259-7900.
Steve Downey, Orem High School’s athletic director, said he participated in the event last year with his family and plans to be involved with his family again this year.
Downey said one of the reasons he wanted to take part in the event was because his mother was diagnosed with cancer about two years ago.
“You want to do something,” said Downey, “and being involved in the Relay for Life gives our family a chance to be of service and help in the fight against cancer.”
“We come early and pitch tents. During the day the kids run and walk, then the adults take the graveyard shift. It’s a lot of fun.” Downey said.
According to Clark, the first Relay for Life was in Tacoma, Washington in 1985. It was a 24-hour marathon that only one person — Dr. Gordon Klatt — participated in.
Since then the fundraiser has grown much larger. This year there will be over 2500 relays throughout the nation, Clark said.