Organizers: Craig’s Relay For Life needs more involvement | CraigDailyPress.com

Organizers: Craig’s Relay For Life needs more involvement

Cancer survivors and other participants release balloons into the air during the first year of Relay For Life of Moffat County in 2007. The American Cancer Society fundraising event has raised more than $100,000 in past years in Craig but has struggled with participation in previous years, with organizers seeking more community involvement.

— If you haven't been able to sign up yet for Relay For Life of Moffat County, there's no time like the present.

The annual philanthropic endeavor for the American Cancer Society will take place Aug. 15 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. Organizer Emily Hines, a Relay specialist for ACS, said about 30 people already are committed to this year's fundraiser, but the drive to get more of a crowd is a big focus.

The local branch of Relay For Life started in 2007 and in its first year raised more than $67,000 for cancer research, a number that was unprecedented at the time for an inaugural community event and garnered special recognition from ACS's Great West division.

Then that was dwarfed by the $107,000 raised in 2008, with nearly 500 people joining the effort.

However, in more recent years, the level of participation and the intake have been far less, with $8,500 the total for 2013.

With past organizers having to drop out for a variety of reasons, this is Hines' first time overseeing Moffat County's event. One change is that instead of Relay being an all-night activity — starting in the early evening and running through the next morning as teams and individuals complete laps around a track at the fairgrounds — it likely will wrap up after a few hours.

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"We just don't have the numbers to make it a complete overnight event like it's been in the past, but it's still going to be really fun. We'll still have music and activities and things for people to do, it's just going to be shorter," she said.

The most vital parts of Relay — including the opening and closing ceremonies, the survivors lap and the lighting of the luminaria — will remain.

By scaling back now, Hines hopes to be able to build anew for next year and bring Relay back to its former prominence.

She also has put out the call for more people in the area to work on planning this year, noting that even a Relay with diminished numbers is better than canceling it altogether.

"We're going to do as much as possible to make it a positive, fun experience for people, and hopefully we'll be able to make that happen by getting more folks on the committee," Hines said. "It might not be what they're used to seeing, but it's still going to be awesome."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

Relay For Life 2014

For more information about organizing and planning Relay For Life of Moffat County, visit http://www.relayforlife.org or call 970-761-2660 or 541-968-3902.