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18th Annual Relay for Life Raises $48,000+

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life held Saturday, June 9, at Helms Field raised more than $48,000.  More team money is still being turned in from fundraising on Saturday as well as concession stand profits.

The top three teams were:  Terry's Tunes raising $10,707; Emanuel Lutheran Church Paynes Point with $5,376.72; and Rochelle Foods with $4,644.15.

This year's event was held from noon until midnight instead of the traditional overnight hours. Although it was hot, the change in hours brought out more families who enjoyed the many games provided by the various teams and a bouncy house sponsored by the Kiwanis, fitting with the theme, "Carnival for a Cure." The Survivor Lap was led by the VFW Post #3878 Color Guard, leading survivors with family and/or caregivers around the track signifying the beginning of Relay. This was followed by the introduction of 21 teams.

"It's always very moving when the survivors are introduced.  It's great to see the friendships that are made at Relay and the support every one gives to each other," Co-chair Janet Stewart shared.

Music was provided throughout the day by Wexell DJ Productions, and the groups "Set Us Free" and "Lizzie Neal Band" performed.

The concessions stand opened around 5:00 p.m. and featured Headon's pork chops, grilled by the Masonic Lodge, and Hormel hot dogs, furnished by Rochelle Foods.

A live auction, conducted by Joe Wegener, raised $2,600. The Relay Idol contest brought out two talented voices who sang unaccompanied, Samantha Villatoro and Curtis Palmer. Villatoro edged out Curtis by a few votes, but the two finished with a duet. 

At 9:00 p.m. the luminaria ceremony began with 311 names being read as the shining luminaria surrounded the track in memory of and to honor those currently batting cancer.

The event concluded with a Team Recognition Ceremony and pizza from Alfano's Pizzeria.

"We couldn't be happier with the day's events.  It was hot but everyone came prepared, and we enjoyed seeing more families come out and join us," said Carrie Wiese, Event Co-chair.  

Donations toward this year's event will be accepted until August 31, 2012 and can be mailed to the American Cancer Society, 4312 E. State St., Rockford, IL 61108. Comments or questions can be emailed to Carrie Wiese at or Janet Stewart at

For details on the numbers, check here.

Janet Stewart

Marketing/Public Relations Coordinator