The New Tampa Relay for Life won’t be held around the running track (see page 34) at Paul R. Wharton High until the weekend of May 18-19, 2012, but there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved today in the American Cancer Society (ACS)’s largest annual fund raiser.

The kick-off party for the 2012 New Tampa Relay for Life (photo) was held at Hunters Green Country Club on December 6, where this year’s campsite theme was revealed as, “Journey to the Cure – Don’t Stop Believing.”

Team captains attending the kick-off party each selected song titles by the rock band Journey to complement their campsite themes. A mock campsite featuring the rock n’ roll video game Guitar Hero was set up at the party to show participants how to do some final fund-raising at their campsites.

The first of four “team parties” will be held on Tuesday, January 17, at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites (on Galbraith Rd., near the Muvico movie theatres) in New Tampa at 6 p.m. All team captains and yhose interested in becoming team participants are invited to attend. Additional monthly team meetings will be held on the third Tuesday of each month at the same time at the Holiday Inn Express.

The goals of the ACS Relay For Life are to engage volunteers in recruiting and assembling teams, seek community support, coordinate logistics, secure donated refreshments and prizes, plan entertainment and lend support to ACS and the local Relay events in any way.

At our press time, 19 teams had already raised more than $3,800 for the 2012 New Tampa Relay, all of which will be donated to improving the lives of cancer patients.

Last year, the Relay’s theme revolved around TV shows and 39 teams representing local schools, businesses and other groups and organizations worked to meet the New Tampa Relay committee’s goal of $150,000, which is the same goal for the New Tampa event again this year.

Bill Holster, an organizer for the New Tampa Relay, says the events give New Tampa a unique opportunity to contribute to the American Cancer Society’s mission of saving lives, by helping people stay well, by helping them get well, by fworking to find cures for cancer, and by fighting back.

Holster says that residents who give their time, energy and financial commitment to this exciting event are really standing up for our community and its pledge to join the fight.

Relay For Life events are held overnight as individuals and teams camp out at an athletic track or park. The goal is to keep at least one member of each team on the track or pathway at all times throughout the evening. Teams do most of their fund-raising prior to the event, but some teams also hold creative fund raisers at their camp sites during Relay. The event celebrates people who have battled cancer, remembers loved ones lost to the disease and provides participants with an opportunity to fight back — all aimed at furthering ACS’s vision of a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

For more information about forming a team, becoming a sponsor or offering services to help the 2012 New Tampa Relay For Life, please contact Bill Holster at 994-1512 or visit The New Tampa Relay will begin Friday, May 18, 6 p.m., at Wharton High, and will last through noon on Saturday, May 19. — SB

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