By RORYE O’CONNOR
MT. VERNON —
Planning is about to begin for the 2012 Relay for Life in Jefferson County.
The first planning meeting for the event will be held 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Rolland W. Lewis Building in Veterans Park.
Tavia Vasicek, representative from the American Cancer Society, said the planning meeting will begin with the introduction of the event’s new chair, Ashley Withrow.
“We are very excited about that,” she said. “We are also going to be covering the open positions within the committee and how to fill any of them that are not filled. We’re working on our recruitment strategy.”
A co-chair for the event is still needed, she said.
Withrow began participating in the Relay for Life last year, with her team of family and friends, The Erasers, she said.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “I have lots of great ideas, so I’m just excited to get started.”
She said Relay is a great organization, and the event is a fun way to raise money for cancer research and treatment.
“I have several family members that have had cancer,” she added. “My main reason is that my father-in-law just passed away from cancer, and this is my way — I’m doing it in memory of him, to give back.”
In addition, the planning meeting will cover the event goals, fundraising total, how many survivors organizers hope to reach and how many teams they hope to have, Vasicek said. There were 28 fundraising teams last year in Jefferson County, she said.
Anyone interested in helping with the event is invited to attend the planning meeting. Meetings will typically be held the third Thursday of each month from 5:30 to 6:30 with team meetings following.
“Just about anybody who wants a way to give back, to fight back, or who wants to feel like a part of a larger community (can join),” Vasicek said. “It gives people empowerment and training to do a job. It’s volunteer-based, so people have to be willing to dedicate some time; some positions do require more dedication than others.”
Vasicek said a kick-off party will be held Feb. 21 at Veterans Park, which will be an open house to help people sign up for teams and learn about patient services and how to get involved.
She said there are many different reasons to get involved in Relay.
“I think there’s a large group of people who have (cancer) in common, but there’s a large group of people who haven’t been touched by cancer, but still want to give back,” she said. “They joined because their skill set was needed, and they stayed involved because of the impact they could have.”
Those who are interested in starting a Relay team may contact Tavia Vasicek at 998-9898, ext. 3, or firstname.lastname@example.org.