Relay For Life preps for 2018

  • Sandy Brodie, chair of Relay For Life of Franklin County's survivorship committee (far right), and Beverly Petravage, co-chair of the committee, cut a cake during Rallyfest, held Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at Yankee Candle. —Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • Attendees of Relay For Life of Franklin County's Rallyfest, held Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, socialize while perusing the information table. —Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • American Cancer Society Staff Partner Andrew Paterno and Senior Manager of Patient Programs Kelly Woods manage information tables at Relay For Life of Franklin County's Rallyfest, held Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at Yankee Candle. —Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • American Cancer Society Senior Manager of Patient Programs Kelly Woods speaks to attendees of Relay For Life of Franklin County's Rallyfest, held Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at Yankee Candle, about the Road To Recovery program. —Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

Recorder Staff
Published: 9/17/2017 6:54:30 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD – Relay For Life of Franklin County says “game over” to cancer with its 2018 theme: board games.

The theme and other new features of the 2018 relay were announced during Rallyfest, a fall gathering for Relay For Life participants and those interested in participating, which was held Saturday evening at Yankee Candle’s flagship store.

The event gave attendees the chance to share fundraising ideas, learn about American Cancer Society programs that Relay fundraising benefits, and learn about what 2018’s board game-themed relay will look like.

“You can dress up as board games, you can play them at your tent,” suggested Liz Landry, tri-chair of Relay For Life of Franklin County’s planning committee. “It’s kind of open ended.”

Going along with the theme, Lisa McKenna, who handles logistics and marketing for Relay For Life of Franklin County, explained the idea to have a Relay For Life tree at this year’s Festival of the Trees. The tree’s decorations will be board game-themed as well.

“Lots and lots of people come through,” McKenna said of the Festival of the Trees, which is also held at Yankee Candle’s flagship store. “We want to really do it up so people will say, ‘Wow, I want to go to relay.’”

Another new feature is a duck pluck. Patti Hall, who oversees social media for Relay For Life of Franklin County, explained that participants can “adopt” a rubber duck for $5.

Then, at Relay in June, there will be a dunk tank filled with ducks. Someone will be dropped into the tank to pick out ducks, whose owners will in turn win prizes. The idea was adapted from Relay For Life of Hampshire County.

Organizers also promoted ways to expand their outreach in the next season of Relay planning. American Cancer Society Staff Partner Andrew Paterno suggested reaching out to elementary schools to offer Relay Recess events, and to middle schools to offer Relay Field Days.

“There’s educational activities related to sun safety, tobacco prevention,” Paterno explained. “If we can start getting that into schools now, imagine how kids’ lives will be in the future.”

Immediately after the formal program from 6:45 to 7:15 p.m., guests milled around getting more information about Relay For Life and American Cancer Society programs at information booths.

One program in particular that organizers hope to grow locally is the Road To Recovery program, whereby individuals volunteer to drive cancer patients to the hospital for treatments. Kelly Woods, senior manager of patient programs with the American Cancer Society, said that throughout New England, drivers provided 18,338 rides to patients in 2016.

In Franklin County, Woods continued, patients are primarily transported to Baystate Franklin Medical Center. However, the program currently suffers from a drought of drivers, having only four in Franklin County.

“With 15 or 20, we can get patients to the treatment that they need,” Woods said.

For more information about American Cancer Society programs that Relay For Life donations are used to fund, visit www.cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345.




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