For the past several years the Relay for Life of Teller County has broken with tradition in that it's been one of the few, if not only, indoor American Cancer Society relay events in the state. This year's event on July 26 is moving back outdoors to the Woodland Park High School and its big track field.
“Most relays are outdoors,” said Mary Catherine Sharp, American Cancer Society Relay Specialist for Teller County. “We have new involvement this year and the relay committee wanted to try something more traditional, especially when it comes to the Luminaria Ceremony. It's more intimate when it's outside with people quietly walking around the darkened track while the names of those we remember and honor are being read. Indoors there are too many distractions.”
While moving outdoors gives the Relay a more traditional feel, this year's event has far from traditional hours. It's still 12 hours but instead of 7 p.m.-7 a.m. the event is noon-midnight.
“Our survivors are older and many aren't able to stay all night,” Sharp said. “We thought the new hours might allow more survivors to participate. It's not overnight but it's still basically the same. We can still have the Luminaria Ceremony at 9 p.m. and it's close to U.S. 24 so maybe more people will be able to find it and participate.”
Of course, at an average elevation of 8,500 feet Woodland Park also gets pretty cold just before dawn even in mid-summer so stopping at midnight might also help participants have a warmer and more comfortable event.
`We're really excited to see how this will turn out,” Sharp said. “We haven't worked out all the details such as when we'll have the survivors' dinner or the survivor's lap but we are most definitely starting at noon.”
So far nine teams have signed up and they have already raised almost $12,000 as of June 18.
“Fundraising starts as soon as someone signs up their team,” Sharp said. “We've changed the way teams register also. Instead of each team paying $150 no matter how many members it has, now each team member pays $10 and there are no limits on the number of members a team can have.”
Signing up is easy online, just visit www.relayforlife.org/tellercountyco and click on the “sign up” button. Participants can sign up a new team or use the button to join an existing team. Cancer survivors can also sign up for the survivors' dinner and lap on the website.
Participants can also buy luminaria online but, of course, many prefer to pay for and decorate their Luminaria at the event. Seven Arrows Art Gallery in Woodland Park is also offering a place to buy and decorate their luminaria.
“Seven Arrows is having a luminaria decorating contest,” Sharp said. “It's geared for teams but people can sign up their team or join a team at the gallery. You buy the luminaria and decorate it right there. Then it goes on display to be judged by the artists associated with the gallery. Cash prizes of $100 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place will go to the winning decorators' teams.”
Sharp said it's not too late to form a team and the more teams the merrier.
“We also need entertainers,” she said. “Anyone who would like to volunteer to entertain the participants during the Relay can call or email me.”
Sharp can be reached at 719-630-4978 or firstname.lastname@example.org.