Relay for Life returns Saturday

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Tillsonburg Relay for Life co-chairs Julie Dawley and Devona Allin are excited – Relay for Life at the Annandale School track is only a few days away.

"We really, really want to pass on to everyone how much we appreciate our sponsors – all of our sponsors and supporters," said Dawley.

"Especially our food sponsors, who are so vital to the event's success. They go above and beyond. We're telling them to be ready to serve 600 people, but they know it could increase."

Domino's Pizza will be feeding all participants pizza for lunch.

"It's fully donated by Domino's," said Allin. "It's amazing."

There will be a donation box for those who would like pizza, but have not registered as a participant.

Sobeys, Zehrs and Metro will all donate fruit and veggies.

"Metro, for instance, said 'if you run out, just come back and we'll give you more,'" said Dawley. "And that's extremely generous."

Tillsonburg Custom Foods will also be donating food items to the Relay for Life event.

The second Relay meal will be a pasta (donated and cooked by Kelsey's Restaurant) and salad supper, with fruits and vegetables.

"McDonald's stepped in," said Dawley. "And they are doing all the drinks – coffee and juice, as well as muffins and cookies.

M&M Meat Shops donated peach drink, and Shaw's Ice Cream donated dessert (ice cream sundaes).

"In the afternoon, there is snow-cones and popcorn," said Dawley. "You can't go hungry at this event.

"And 100 per cent donated," Allin noted. "We haven't had that in the past."

"That just means we can give more to the cause," said Dawley.

It's their hope to fill the track area throughout the day.

"It brings energy," said Allin.

This year's Relay for Life, for the first time in Tillsonburg, will be a one-day event, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., starting at 11 with Opening Ceremonies (with guest speakers Stacy Wall and Linda VanMaele) and the Survivors Lap, and concluding later that night with the traditional luminaries, which will be lit around dusk at 8:45 p.m., followed by more walking the track till 11.

"This year everything is on the track, or inside the track," said Dawley. "The food area, the massages, everything. Absolutely everything. So you come in, get inside that fence area, and it's all there. It's part of the new Canadian Cancer Society format to try to have everything right there and very accessible."

Of course, there will be ample room to walk the track, and that tradition will continue... with a twist. Walkers are encouraged to keep track of their laps this year, highlighting the 'relay' part of the event.

Live entertainment will continue through the day, starting shortly after the Survivor Lap.

"We do have a new stage this year," said Dawley, "and that's really exciting for us."

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

The organizers are still looking for more volunteers for both setup (Friday 3 p.m.) and 'tear down' (Sunday 9 a.m.).

"If anyone is interested in volunteering, they just have to show up," said Dawley. "If you are interested, you should call Kathy Milton (519-550-9803)."

The goal this year is to raise $121,000, which will bring the event to $2.5 million in its 14th year.

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