Poised to break the $1 million mark in funds raised for the American Cancer Society, participants in the Grand Island Relay For Life kicked off the 2012 campaign Saturday.
The 10th Relay For Life on GI is scheduled for Friday, June 8, at Grand Island High School's Masters Field with the theme "A Million Steps of Hope," an allusion to the nearly $1 million Islanders have raised in the event's 10 years.
When the first Grand Island Relay For Life raised $12,500, "We thought we were so cool," said Liz Wilbert, registration chairperson for Relay. "Our goal this year is to top the $1 million mark for money raised here on Grand Island in a community effort to help fight to eradicate cancer in our lifetime. To date, we have raised $944,000. We can do a million."
The kickoff drew about 50 people, including Relay team captains, who Jane Dent of the American Cancer Society called "the leaders who believe in the vision of a cancer-free future."
Dent said the 2011 Relay had 44 teams, 484 participants, 109 survivors, and brought in $124,750. The goals for the 2012 Relay: 65 teams, 650 participants, 116 survivors, and $130,000.
"I know this Island well, and there is not going to be any problem," in achieving those goals, Dent said. "What do I always say about you guys? You are fundraising machines. You're going to keep fighting until that cure is found. There is no doubt in my mind."
The first team captain meeting will take place March 13 at 7 p.m. in the GIHS small cafeteria.