The 2014 Grand Island Relay For Life will hold its kickoff event Feb. 5, and those who attend should go ready to rock.
Organizers of the GI Relay have adopted "Rock-Out Cancer" as the 2014 theme for the fund drive to support the American Cancer Society. The kickoff for 2014 will take place at Veronica Connor Middle School's cafeteria, 1100 Ransom Road, on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m.
At the kickoff, awards recognizing achievement from the 2013 Relay will be handed out as well.
"It's a wrap-up of 2013 with awards, and we'll kickoff 2014," said Lynn Dingey, Relay co-chair, of the event.
In addition to awards, the 2014 kickoff will announce Relay's honorary survivor and honorary caregiver, and introduce Grand Island's new staff partner with the American Cancer Society, Jen McArdle, who is taking over for Jane Dent. Bill Gugino will serve as master of ceremonies.
One need not be a member of a Relay team to take part in the kickoff event.
"Last year we had a pretty big turnout at kickoff, so we're hoping for another because that really gets people going on it," said Becky Stufkosky, Relay co-chair.
One need not wear a favorite concert T-shirt to the Rock-Out Cancer kickoff, but it wouldn't hurt either.
"It's not required, but it's encouraged," said Casey Dahlstrom, publicity coordinator for Relay For Life of Grand Island, who added that he's going to find his favorite bandana for the event.
Relay For Life has enjoyed a long string of success on the Island. At last year's kickoff, it was announced that GI's Relay was ranked in the top 20 in New York/New Jersey. Dahlstrom noted Relay For Life is the largest fundraising effort of the American Cancer Society, and that "In the last 11 years, Grand Island has raised over $1 million for cancer research and prevention. On May 31, Grand Island will be hosting their annual event, which is a chance to celebrate survivorship, remember those who have fallen, and fight back," he said.
The 2013 Relay was the first at Veterans Park after 10 years at Masters Field behind Ransom Road. The 12th annual Island edition of the Relay For Life will return to the same location, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, to 2 a.m. Sunday, June 1.
"For a first year in a new location, I think it was phenomenal," Dingey said of the 2013 edition.
"I think Relay last year, it was just so different. It was a different feeling, and I really want to recreate that atmosphere and more," Stufkosky said. The Rock-Out Cancer theme is meant to inspire participants and generate the positive atmosphere.
"You can pretty much hit every age group, and there's a lot of possibilities," Dahlstrom said of the theme.
Grand Island Relay For Life
Committee meetings to plan for the 2014 Relay For Life of Grand Island will held at the Grand Island Memorial Library (1717 Bedell Road) at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted.