Relay For Life begins Friday night at J.B. Wells


The 11th annual Relay For Life of Gonzales County begins at 6 p.m. today at the J.B. Wells Show Barn. Nineteen teams have registered online, with 230 team participants taking part in all kinds of fundraising opportunities.

“Many of the teams have been very active for several months, while others are new to the fundraising scene,” says RFL chairman Arline Rinehart. “Every dollar raised will help someone who has received a cancer diagnosis or patients going for treatment. Funding for medical research to find new drugs and treatments also benefit from the Relay For Life fundraising.” As the 2013 event prepares to kick off, more than $81,300 has been received in sponsorship donations and team fundraisers.

When the fundraising season began last fall, the RFL Committee learned that the 2013 Relay would be its Million Dollar Relay. At that time, the committee had only $40,611.99 more to raise in order to reach that goal.

“Our sponsorship campaign helped us reach that, and so now, more than $1 million has been raised for American Cancer Society Relay For Life since Relay began in Gonzales County in March 2003,” Rinehart says. “Thank you, Gonzales County!”

Luminaria purchases are the biggest fundraiser just prior to the annual event. These lights of hope will encircle the interior of the J. B. Wells Show Barn to form the walking path for Friday night. The luminarias will be lighted at 9 p.m. While ordering luminarias on April 5 can still be done, there is no guarantee that the bags will be placed in alphabetical order like the rest.

RFL teams also host booths for food and drink items at the show barn, as well as other items for purchase. There are also many exciting opportunity drawings the teams have organized to raise funds. Games and activities will be offered for the young and the young at heart, as well as a photo booth to remember the event with a professional-grade photograph.

“Celebrating HOPE Year ‘Round” is the theme of the 2013 Relay For Life. Teams have chosen holidays or special celebrations for their fundraising opportunities. Those teams include:

- The Sunshine Girls, led by team captain Patty Stewart, will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an opportunity drawing for a Consuela handbag ($1/ticket or 6/$5).

- Celebrating Thanksgiving, the Faith Walkers team with Carol Oakes as team captain will offer hot dogs, hot tea, hot chocolate, lemonade, fish pond, necklaces and an opportunity drawing for a quilt ($1/ticket or 6/$5).

- Warm Springs, led by co-captains Joyce Gibson and Paula New, will celebrate Valentine’s Day as they sell barbecue chopped beef on a bun, chips, olive wood hearts plus opportunity drawings for a Kindle Fire ($5/ticket), quilt ($3/ticket or 2/$5) and a tandem hang-gliding experience ($5/ticket or 5/$20).

- Brenda’s Buddies, led by team captain Rebecca Flores, will sell noisemakers, popcorn and pickles, along with an opportunity drawing for $100 VISA gift card as they celebrate New Year’s Day.

- Led by team captain Janie Massey, Sage Capital Bank will have a Plinko game as they celebrate Arbor Day featuring a Tree of LIfe.

- Mother-daughter duo Janice Williamson and Sarah Bailey serve as team captains for Friends for the Cause, which will celebrate spring by selling mushroom appetizers, bottled water, bottled iced tea and green tea, Gatorade, washer toss, bandanas, and hand-painted and mosaic spring-like items (bird houses, flower pot signs).

- Celebrating Mardi Gras, the local EMS team is led by Jennifer Miller and will offer tasty gumbo and boudin.

- GVEC’s team, led by captain Shari Johnson, will sell coffee and a variety of brownies in celebration of Labor Day.

- The Wells Fargo team is led by captain Lucia Fernandez, and will celebrate the Fourth of July by selling nachos and frito pies.

- Texan Nursing & Rehab, led by team captain Melanie Wright, will sell cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies and soft drinks as they celebrate Halloween. They also have an opportunity drawing for a bottle of Louis Kuntschik’s homemade wine, $50 Walmart gift card and many more items.

- Led by team captain Shelley Warner, Johnson Oil Co.’s “Jumping On Cancer” will celebrate Easter as they sell sausage wraps and soft drinks. They will also have a prize wheel (donate to spin) and an opportunity drawing for Spurs’ courtside suite seats ($5 per ticket).

- The Heights of Gonzales team is led by captain Cindy Molina, and will celebrate Cinco de Mayo as they sell delicious chalupas.

- Celebrating Mother’s Day, HEBuddys is led by co-captains Chassity Machacek and Lisa Arnic, and will offer pizza, snow cones and an opportunity drawing for a wooden Texas windmill (yard art; $5 per ticket).

- Debbie and Mary’s Angels is led by co-captains Candice Valle and A.J. Camarillo, and will have a photo booth ($5 per photograph) as they celebrate Grandparents’ Day.

- Leading the Prosperity Bank team is captain Cecilia Singleton. Team members will be selling sausage on a stick as they celebrate Groundhog Day: “Hiding in the Shadows Waiting for a Cure.”

- Captain Carolyn Kocian is leading the North Avenue team in celebrating Memorial Day with a special item in the silent auction.

- The Sievers Medical Clinic team is led by captain Anita Torres, and will celebrate Christmas with a silent auction item. Dierlam Insurance team, led by captain Janet Dierlam, will also have a silent auction item.

- The Leo Club, under the leadership of team captain Sarah Stout, will offer games and activities for 50 cents per try.

In addition to all these team fundraising opportunities, there will be a silent auction organized by Polly Coleman and Kristi Mercer. The silent auction will consist of a wide variety of gift baskets and items from Relay For Life teams, local businesses and individuals. The bidding frenzy will end at 11 p.m., and all items will need to be paid for and picked up by 12:30 a.m.

A new feature this year will be a live auction on a couple of items at 7:30 p.m.

“It will be a busy, reflective and fun time as we gather to ‘Celebrate HOPE Year ‘Round’,” Rinehart says.

The event begins with opening ceremonies, which features a celebration of survivors and their journeys. During the Fight Back ceremony at 8 p.m., Hero of Hope Brenda Fox will share her inspiring story. The 9 p.m. luminaria ceremony provides a time to remember and honor all who have endured cancer, living and deceased. Closing ceremony will begin at 12:40 a.m., with the final lap at 1 a.m. Live music will be provided by Kerr Creek Band, Texxas, and Joaquin Figueroa and students.

Others scheduled to speak during the event are Dr. J. Michael Kerley, who is medical director for the Wonder World and Sundance Centers for Cancer Care; and Dr. Kathleen Koerner, who is on staff at Sievers Medical Clinic.