BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – It is going to be a big year for Relay for Life events in the Valley and across the country as the American Cancer Society’s 24-hour event is turning 30 this year.
Any around-the-clock event requires a lot of commitment from organizers and volunteers to make sure things run smoothly. On Tuesday, Boardman’s Relay for Life team held its kickoff event, where it talked about scaling back on the the hours of the day-long event.
Boardman’s relay is 24 hours, and for some that is too long, especially those 2 a.m. shifts. One suggestion made Tuesday was making it a 12-hour or 18-hour event, so team members took it to a vote.
“We are not bringing in people anymore. Everybody leaves, so we are really not promoting Relay for Life anymore,” Beth DeVore of Boardman said.
But others in the crowd said they set aside that 24 hours and make a commitment to it.
Some relay participants said shortening the relay takes away from real meaning of the event, which is meant to symbolize 24 hours in the life of a cancer survivor.
“You don’t want to shorten something that is a successful and positive event. If you do that, sometimes people start pulling back, it has a cascading effect of shortening the event itself and taking away the purpose of its initial response,” Mark Luke of Boardman said.
Boardman relay’s event leader said communities need to decide what works best for them.
“We are completely a different society than we were 30 years ago. We are busy, we have a lot going on and 24 hours is a huge commitment,” Boardman Relay event lead Chary Hiveley said.
Team members voted on the issue and overwhelmingly decided to keep it 24 hours. DeVore said the only reason she talked about shortening the event was to let people know the pros and cons.
“I like the 24-hour walk. My sisters do it with us, we stay up as much as we can during the 24 hours,” DeVore said.
Boardman Relay for Life is set May 15, 2015. Its fundraising goal is $175,000.
Relay for Life started in 1985, so the 30th birthday theme is going to be a flashback to the 1980’s.