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Relay for Life wants you

  • Bill Perkins of the Johnson Clan Relay for Life team tidies up the luminaria presentation on Saturday morning. The team set up American flags to celebrate Flag Day, also on Saturday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Bill Perkins of the Johnson Clan Relay for Life team tidies up the luminaria presentation on Saturday morning. The team set up American flags to celebrate Flag Day, also on Saturday.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mark Langenback of Greenfield embraces a themed lap on Saturday morning at Relay for Life: male team members dressed as females in their best sock hop outfit, traveling around the track with "purses" to collect money. Langenback's approach was announced by a "Keep Smiling" team member yelling, "Sock hop Suzie! A dollar for a dance!"<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Mark Langenback of Greenfield embraces a themed lap on Saturday morning at Relay for Life: male team members dressed as females in their best sock hop outfit, traveling around the track with "purses" to collect money. Langenback's approach was announced by a "Keep Smiling" team member yelling, "Sock hop Suzie! A dollar for a dance!"
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tyssen LaBombard, a member of the Greenfield cross country team, runs along the Relay for Life course on Saturday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Tyssen LaBombard, a member of the Greenfield cross country team, runs along the Relay for Life course on Saturday.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Bill Perkins of the Johnson Clan Relay for Life team tidies up the luminaria presentation on Saturday morning. The team set up American flags to celebrate Flag Day, also on Saturday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Mark Langenback of Greenfield embraces a themed lap on Saturday morning at Relay for Life: male team members dressed as females in their best sock hop outfit, traveling around the track with "purses" to collect money. Langenback's approach was announced by a "Keep Smiling" team member yelling, "Sock hop Suzie! A dollar for a dance!"<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Tyssen LaBombard, a member of the Greenfield cross country team, runs along the Relay for Life course on Saturday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

GREENFIELD — Long-time veterans of the Relay for Life have some words of wisdom and sage advice for those thinking about joining the anti-cancer fundraiser next year.

“Just do it.”

That was the consensus from several team captains, event organizers and volunteers Saturday, as the 19th annual Relay for Life of Franklin County wound its way toward the final laps around the track at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.

Together, they raised more than $215,000, with totals still being tallied. It’s a good chunk of change and you could help add to it next year for the 20th anniversary relay.

“If you want to form a team, talk to the organizers, start raising money, and just go for it,” said Kodey LaBombard, captain of the Greenfield High School’s Cross Country team’s Relay for Life squad.

The team, made up of current and past GHS athletes, put in more than 300 laps around the half-mile track.

Several years ago, said LaBombard, three Greenfield High School students were afflicted by cancer — one who had the disease himself, and two whose mother was battling cancer.

LaBombard, soon to be a senior, and others from GHS have run the relay for years, but other athletes gave it a shot for the first time this weekend.

“I lost my mom to cancer last year, so I decided to put a team together, as a way to live her legacy,” said Kyle Mattson, captain of the Franklin County Greyhounds.

While it was their first relay, the team has been together a while. They play semi-pro football in the New England Football League, with home games in Orange.

“Everyone was really helpful, from the chairs down to the volunteers,” he said. “They were more than welcoming, and made our first relay really easy for us.”

Mattson said the team surpassed its $1,000 goal in pledges and hoped to bring in another $300 or so by selling T-shirts at the relay. In the six months before the event, they sought out pledges and held tag sales to raise money.

Relay Marketplace

Selling things to raise money for the relay is nothing new, but the one-stop-shop that popped up this year was.

Pamela Fitzpatrick’s team, the Stubborn Survivors, put together the “Relay Marketplace,” where other teams were invited to sell small items underneath a big tent in the middle of the fairgrounds.

“A lot of teams have small things for sale to raise money throughout the relay,” she said. “Unfortunately, there’s almost always a big puddle between their tents and the track, and it makes it hard for people to see what’s for sale.”

To compensate, her team decided to set up the marketplace.

“We ran it for two hours this year, just to see how it would go,” she said. “It went well; we had 16 teams sign up to use it.”

The relay is always open to new ideas and new teams, as well as newcomers who want to help in other ways.

The relay hosts bands, dance troupes and other entertainment throughout the 20-hour affair, and new acts are encouraged to apply.

To find out how you can get involved, or see a full list of Relay for Life of Franklin County teams and the totals they raised, visit: goo.gl/e230ZA. You may also donate to the American Cancer Society in the Franklin County relay’s name through the website.

You can reach David Rainville at drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279 On Twitter follow @RecorderRain

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