2016 Relay participants include Team Relay Nation
By Terry Duffy
Relay For Life of Greater Niagara continues to evolve.
Following last year's successful debut that saw combined forces from Lewiston and Niagara Falls teaming up at Reservoir State Park to raise more than $46,000 for American Cancer Society programs, comes word Relay 2016 is going national.
"This is really happening!" said Cheryl Coy Martin, a member of the Greater Niagara Relay organizing committee. Martin reported Team Relay Nation, a social media group comprised of 35 members from 14 states, will visit the Buffalo region this weekend and participate in the Relay For Life of Greater Niagara at Reservoir State Park.
"The wonderful Relay For Life/Team Relay Nation that I met in Las Vegas last year has made the official announcement for 2016," Martin said of the group's planned visit. The national Relay For Life team, which has been a part of Relays held in Tacoma, Washington, in 2014 and in Las Vegas in 2015, will be part of the Greater Niagara Relay experience this year.
"Woot! Woot! I am so honored and excited to welcome these amazing Relayers from across the United States to our event," said Martin, a Team Relay Nation member and the Greater Niagara Relay's top individual contributor.
American Cancer Society organizers report Team Relay Nation members were in Buffalo Friday for day visits to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge on Summer Street.
Team Relay Nation members were also the featured guests at a "Niagara Falls Goes Purple" welcome reception held in the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. And they were scheduled to participate in the illumination of Niagara Falls in purple and amber in honor of Relay For Life by the American and Canadian Cancer societies.
They will be among the hundreds expected at Saturday's Greater Niagara Relay, which opens at noon and continues to 6 a.m. Sunday.
The Relay schedule includes:
•Opening ceremonies at noon, followed by the cancer survivor's lap and survivor's luncheon.
•Afternoon events, including a basket auction; frozen T-shirt contest; caregiver ceremony; kids activities; Pantene beautiful lengths in the gazebo; a water balloon contest; plus entertainment by Lunar, 1980 Somethng and Whatthefolk.
•The Fight Back Ceremony at 6 p.m., with remarks by Lori Kuhuski, founder of Team Relay Nation.
•Evening events, including the Time to Dance Elite Junior Acro Competition Team, and performances by Frequency, the McCarthy School of Irish Dance and JB Aaron and the Brethren.
•The Luminaria Ceremony at 9:30 p.m., presented by Team Relay Nation.
•The Relay continues Saturday with a performance by the Chris Borgatti Band, paint night in the survivor tent and on-site activities continuing overnight.
The Relay For Life of Greater Niagara concludes with closing ceremonies Sunday starting at 5:45 a.m.
As of Thursday, a total of 29 teams and 209 participants had signed on to be part of this year's Relay with $31,070.15 raised, including $6,951.15 in contributions from Team Relay Nation volunteers.
The American Cancer Society and organizers of Relay For Life of Greater Niagara welcome the public to be a part of this special 2016 event. For more information, visit www.relayforlife.org/greaterniagarany or the Relay For Life of Greater Niagara Facebook page.
The American Cancer Society's Relay For Life of Greater Niagara returns this weekend to Reservoir State Park. Shown is the leadoff of last year's Survivor's Walk.