By Alice E. Gerard
The snow glittered under the bright sunlight on Jan. 8, and the temperature sat at a frozen 10 degrees. At Veterans Park, the weather did not deter Relay For Life’s first lap.
Grand Island Relay For Life co-chair Lynn Marston Dingey said, “First lap is the way that we kick off our Relay season for the year. It happens around the country and around the world. This brings everybody together for one lap, whether it’s where you relay, in your living room, around your house, around your neighborhood, whatever. Everybody takes that first lap, kind of like commits themselves to relay for the year. And we also recommend that everyone register for Relay For Life.”
This year is the 20th anniversary of the first Relay For Life held on Grand Island. According to Relay committee member Renee Gugino, “I am very optimistic that we can get together this year and celebrate the 20th.”
The theme for this year’s Relay For Life, scheduled to be held June 3 at Veterans Park, will be “ ‘Hope Takes Flight,’ whether it be butterflies, kites, whatever we can do for hope taking flight. We’re planning, hopefully, a butterfly release,” Dingey said. “We’re just happy to have … hoping to have … everybody back with us.”
“It (Relay) will be our usual schedule,” Dingey said. “I think that the survivor dinner starts at 4:30. Right now, we just have to follow the guidelines that the American Cancer Society gives us. We’re hoping that we will be 100% back, but we just don’t know. As rules and regulations come out for us, we’re going to do the best that we can to get everybody here.”
According to Wendy Napier, who is also one of three co-chairs of Relay For Life, “I feel energized and geared up and ready to go for 2022. It’s a brand new year. It’s a brand new start. Being out here, I can’t wait to come back and actually do Relay. In the meantime, throughout the year, we’ll gather with friends and community and do what we can to bring to our cause against cancer.”
The first Relay For Life event has been scheduled for March 5.
“Mallwitz Cancer Crew is doing a band and baskets at Mallwitz’s Island Lanes,” Dingey said. “Yes, that’s going to be our first event. Fingers crossed that things don’t change by then. Or, hopefully, things get better by then. It starts at 6 o’clock for the basket raffle, and the bands start at 8.”
Gugino said, “Billy’s Buddies is always collecting bottles. And ink cartridges and old cell phones.”
“Go Bills. Let’s go, Relay 2022!” Dingey said.
For more information, check out Relay For Life’s Facebook page, as well as the website www.relayforlife.org/grandislandNY.