Forging on despite the odds
Relay for Life, the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, returns to Newberg this weekend as flocks of cancer survivors and supporters will circle the Newberg High School track from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.
Sisters Janice and Carol Elbert are co-chairing this year's event, which will feature a police and first-responder inspired theme as 14 teams and 68 participants attempt to "put arrest to cancer."
Participation has fallen since last year, when 230 people (27 teams) took part, but most of the long-running Newberg teams are still involved.
"ARE Tillery and Marty's Party teams are the oldest teams in Newberg and will be continue to be involved this year," Janice Elbert said. "ARE Tillery is the team that I am on; my mom and dad both had cancer and we started in 2007. Marty's Party's leader is Marty Brown and she is a cancer survivor. They've been there from at least 2007 on."
Each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps.
The highlight, once again, will be the luminaria ceremony, which involves people purchasing and decorating white bags that are lit up with tea lights and arranged around the track.
"That is in memory and support of someone who has died of cancer or someone who is fighting cancer or in honor of someone who has beat cancer," Janice Elbert said. "That is a big part of the evening. It's going to be from 9 to 10 p.m. as we read names and share. It is the quiet and reflective time."
Teams will also set up themed campsites where participants can hang out when not on the track.
"We will have food, bracelets and pins, at the event," Elbert said. "Our big fundraiser is a silent auction with great shopping items."
When people sign up as a team and join the Hope Club, they can receive a T-Shirt when they raise $100 per person (or $50 for youth).
"Throughout the year teams will do different fundraisers such as bake sales and garage sales, or nationally raffle off cars, that's a really big thing these days." Janice Elbert added.
The event raised $43,774 last year. More than $20,000 has been already raised toward this year's goal of $30,000, with the ARE Tillery team leading the way with more than $5,500 raised.
Donations can also be made online at www.relayforlife.org/newbergor.