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Relay for Life

Driver Darryl Kimplin of Greenfeild, Nick Maloni of NAPA and Patrick Chiapputi have teamed up on Team Rambutt to raise money for the Relay for Life by selling space on thier pink car that will run in the Franklin County Demo Derby.Recorder/Paul Franz

Driver Darryl Kimplin of Greenfeild, Nick Maloni of NAPA and Patrick Chiapputi have teamed up on Team Rambutt to raise money for the Relay for Life by selling space on thier pink car that will run in the Franklin County Demo Derby.Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

GREENFIELD — The annual Relay for Life returns today to the Franklin County Fairgrounds.

The opening ceremony starts at 5:45 p.m., right before the survivors’ lap, when those who beat cancer will proudly make their way around the track. Then, more than 600 walkers will take to the oval track, striding through the night and into Saturday in shifts. The relay will wrap up at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, with closing ceremonies.

All cancer survivors and caregivers are encouraged to participate in Friday’s survivors’ lap, and should show up at 4 p.m. for a catered meal before the opening ceremony. Anyone who would like to volunteer their convertible to chauffeur the less-mobile survivors around the track in style should also come for 4 p.m.

Last year, about 275 survivors participated in the opening lap, according to Michael Nelson, co-chairman of the relay. Last year’s Relay for Life of Franklin County raised more than $250,000, said Nelson, who hopes to bring in at least as much this year.

If you’re not on a Relay for Life team, you can still help raise money for the American Cancer Society. Though their pledge drives are done, relay teams will continue to bring in the bucks through raffles, baked goods and other endeavors.

The Greenfield Savings Bank relay team, the Cash Crusaders, has partnered with Rambutt Racing, a Franklin County demolition derby team that’s just as interested in demolishing cancer as crushing their competition’s cars.

“We’ve all had family members we have lost to cancer in the last 10 years,” said Patrick Chiapputi of Deerfield. “Whether it was breast cancer, brain cancer, or other forms, all of our team members have been touched by the disease at some point.”

The car bears the number “413,” which isn’t just the area code — it’s the birthday of Chiapputi’s mother-in-law, who recently died of brain cancer.

Last year, Chiapputi and his racing team joined forces with the bank’s relay team. They were able to help the Cash Crusaders bring in more than $700 to add to their total.

“This year, we sold sponsorships to local businesses, and will donate the money to the relay,” said Chiapputi.

The bright pink derby car will bear the logos of those businesses, and relay-goers will add their own decor as it sits parked at the fairgrounds during the Relay.

For a small donation, people can sign the car and write messages honoring loved ones who won or lost their battles with cancer, or pen something about their own experience with the disease.

“When this car is done, and you sit and read it, your gut tightens up,” said Chiapputi. “It can be tough, especially for those that have lost loved ones. People write some pretty emotional stuff.”

As tough as it may be to read those messages, it will be nigh impossible in a few months. In September, it will return to the fairgrounds for the Stoney Roberts Demolition Derby at the Franklin County Fair.

If you can’t make it to the fairgrounds to support the relay in person, you can still donate at:

goo.gl/gpkJEd.

Nice article and great group of people to work with. Rammbutt racing not only have fun in what they do at demo's but also give back to the community, as the co-captian of the cash Crusaders I want to thank them for all they do. keep up the great work.

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