The Relay For Life of Culver this Saturday will feature several new concepts and the return to the old site, adviser Dana Neer said. Approximately 500 people from Culver Academies and the Culver community are expected to participate in the American Cancer Society fundraising event.
The biggest change is the event is moving back to Oliver Field. “It has been a positive draw,” Neer said, adding it allows the Relay committee to create a better atmosphere for the walkers and members of the public who would like to visit while the Relay is occurring. People are welcome to come visit and eat at one of the many local food vendors available, Neer said, but he hopes that they will also donate “and walk a few laps” while they are visiting. The event will be conducted in the rain unless there is thunder or lightning, he said.
This marks the 10th anniversary of the event, which has raised more than $800,000 since its inception in 2008. This year’s goal is $75,000. With $60,000 already being raised, Neer is confident that a final push for online registrations and contributions and people registering at the door will allow Relay to reach its goal. Online and cash donations will be accepted through June 13, he added.
Students from Culver Academies, Culver Community High School, and adult advisers from both institutions have been working on the event since December. Ireland Irving ’17 (Culver) and Alex Moser ’17 (LaPorte, Ind.) are serving as the student co-chairs of the event. The Relay For Life of Culver was the first in the country to be conducted by high school students.
The actual time of the event is being shortened from 12 hours to five. Neer said trying to sustain the energy of such a large group was difficult over the 12 hours. Only eight percent of the students stayed all night. The Relay will now start at 7 p.m. and close at midnight.
Another new program started this year was the pairing of student groups with local businesses and fraternal organizations. A total of 21 teams with local sponsors have been formed. The Culver Academies teams are divided by the dorms and units while the CCHS teams are divided by class year.
Local businesses that donated $150 in cash or in goods/services were then matched with the different teams. The Culver Academies and Culver Community Schools Corp. faculties and staff combined to form one team this year. Neer said he is hoping that the sponsors will walk with the groups they are supporting during the opening cerermony.
The teams of students, teachers, business partners, and community will line up in a designated area and walk in as groups to open the event at 7 p.m. The food vendors will open at 7:45 p.m. Events scheduled throughout the night include a live band, running an obstacle course on Oliver Field, playing corn hole and badminton, and a pie-eating contest.
The luminary ceremony to honor of those who have lost the battle to cancer or are fighting the disease will be conducted at 9:30 p.m.
At 10 p.m., the entire group will try to set a Guinness World Record for blowing up balloons by mouth in 60 seconds. The current record is only 600, he said, so setting the record is a definite possibility.
Campus events that raised money for Relay For Life of Culver include The Rubin Café’s donations of all the proceeds raised over Parents Weekend, the Smash Out Cancer event that allowed students to take a sledgehammer to an old car, and the luminaria sales. People can still register online or at the event. Neer said the cost is just $10. People can also sponsor walkers or teams by selecting them online.