“We are having each of the teams have a different port of call,” explained Loretta “Yordy” Eastwood, who is co-chairing this year’s event along with Melonie Dolphin.
“Each of the teams and survivors will have passports, and can get them stamped at the different ports of call,” Eastwood added, noting that creative names that already have been selected by teams include “Jamaica Difference” and “Juneau We Can Find a Cure.”
The all-night community event, now in its eighth year locally, is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
Eastwood said that 18 teams and have already signed on to participate in the event, more than double last year’s total. So far, some 116 registered team members have already raised more than $14,000 toward the 2013 event, she said.
“It should be a lot of fun, and we hope to keep people of all ages involved all night long,” Eastwood said, noting that this is her first time in a leadership role at Moab’s relay, although she did participate in two previous events. Eastwood, a Moab native who graduated from Grand County High School in 1975, said this year’s relay will be a family reunion of sorts for her, with some 20 or more Holyoak family members lined up to participate, including her father Dale Holyoak, a cancer survivor.
Several local restaurants have agreed supply the food for the pre-event dinner, called “Taste of Moab.” Local cancer survivors may eat for free, while others are asked to contribute $10 per plate.
Following the dinner, the relay will officially kick off with an opening ceremony starting at 6 p.m., followed by a survivors’ walk at 6:30. Caregivers will also be honored. At 10 p.m. will be the “luminaria” ceremony, when the track will go dark except for the participants’ glow sticks and an array of lighted paper bags bearing the names of cancer victims and survivors.
Each of the teams is supposed to keep at least one person walking around the track for the duration of the 12-hour relay. Each year, numerous participants log several miles during the course of the event.
Eastwood said that organizers are planning several “fun” laps with prizes. Some of the ideas include a “power of purple” lap, a pajama lap, a hat lap, and a limbo lap, along with laps based on popular games such as Scrabble, poker, and bingo.
“We will also be doing a scavenger lap sometime in the middle of the morning,” Eastwood added.
Eastwood said that in accordance with the slogan, “One Day, One Night, One Community, One Fight,” efforts are being made to involve younger children in various activities. The Moab Rotary Club will be sponsoring a kids section with game booths, a hula hoop contest, and a cupcake walk. A dunk booth and a silent auction are also planned.
Although there is no admission charge for the relay activities, donations are encouraged, since it is primarily a fundraising event.
Sol Vista, a band based in Farmington, N.M., will provide musical entertainment throughout the evening. The band’s appearance is sponsored by Moab Rents, Maverik, and Moab Adventure Center.
At 6 a.m. Saturday, July 27, the Moab Diner will again provide breakfast to the participants, with a closing “Fight Back” ceremony to take place right after that. The “fight back” phrase comes from the Relay for Life’s official three-fold motto, which is “celebrate, remember, fight back.”
Eastwood said Moab Diner is one of four local sponsors that have been with Moab’s Relay for Life since its first year in 2006, the other three being the Wang Organization, Moab Lodging, and Moab Chevron / Leger’s.
Information about participating and donating is available online at www.relayforlife.org. Enter either “Moab” or “84532” in the search field to find Moab’s event.
“Through modern technology, you can go online with your phone, your iPad, or your computer, at your convenience,” said Eastwood. “You can register, donate, and track your team or your individual progress. The website is great and easy to navigate.”
For more information, contact Eastwood at 435-259-8553, or Dolphin at 435-260-0455. Local cancer survivors who want to participate in the activities should contact Irene Wagner at 435-260-8465.