Well, after a long evening and many an hour in the sun, the 18-hour 2006 Relay For Life in Grove City, Ohio has come and gone. So how did Team Newsvine do when all was said and done? Not too shabby.
Our team got off to a heck of a start by having its captain show up about 15 minutes late with Mykola. Of course, in my defense, it was worth the extra 15 minutes to get the large outdoor shelter to keep the bugs and sun off of everything, so I see it as time well spent. Team Newsvine's first task was assembling said shelter - a task most difficult for a group of people that implore people to 'Get Smarter Here.'
At the start, Myk and I were joined by greta, digitalscoots, Greg Hoke, and Zaki. Jynne wasn't able to come for the whole time, but was able to show up for a little at the beginning, which I missed out. She also graciously showed up again in the middle of the night to satisfy our food cravings and gave us entirely too much food to chow down on.
Of course, the primary thing done at a Relay is walking - of which some of us did plenty. After all was said and done, I tapped out at 80 laps - an even 20 miles. If I'm not mistaken digitalscoots did even more than this, and greta wasn't far behind, either. Myk and Zaki I believe did 20-30-some laps before they succumbed to the abuse and headed home.
It's interesting the variety of activities the American Cancer Society presents participants with to motivate them to keep walking. Digitalscoots, greta, and I took part in several poker and Scrabble laps, where you recieve a new card each time you make a lap, and at the end of five see how good a poker hand you have or if you can make a word with your five letters. Digitalscoots won quite an... 'interesting' prize from one of these poker laps - which we can find nothing more fitting and entertaining to do but send it over to Newsvine HQ. Watch that mailbox for something really masculine, guys. ;)
It was encouraging to see the amount of caretakers and cancer survivors participating in the Relay, identified by a purple sash and medal, respectively. Everyone seemed to have just the most positive outlook and approach to everything (sometimes too positive.... i.e. the Jazzercise instructor).
Alongside the track there were many signs put up by the American Cancer Society to remind everyone what the money raised does. Some told of programs like Road to Recovery, which provides transportation for cancer patients to their treatments and back. Other programs detailed were Hope Lodge, which provides temporary housing to patients who travel to another city for their treatments and Reach to Recovery, which helps breast cancer patients. Here are some other programs the American Cancer Society does.
Participants were also reminded that the American Cancer Society is the largest non-profit source of funding for cancer research. ACS also supports junior researchers whose work would go unfunded and undone otherwise.
One of the highlights of the event is the evening Luminaria ceremony, where each luminaria represents an individual affected by cancer. Most of the lights are shut off for this ceremony, and remain off until morning, with the luminaria lighting up the track for the night.
The morning brought with it the hot sun, jazzercise, Cloggers for Christ (if I'm lying, I'm dying), and a group of bellydancers that just flat out frightened me. Combined with the constant walking and our injuries that were starting to add up (I popped my knee towards the end and digitalscoots got an earbud stuck in his ear canal), the three of us left were starting to long for a nice hot shower and a long nap.
The closing ceremonies finally came, where ACS cuts your team a fake check for the amount your team raised made out to the American Cancer Society. We found out around this time several last minute entrants like Wal-mart and the Gap had donated a substantial amount of money as well. Many teams also donated most of their money in cash at the site, unlike Newsvine, who as we all know are smarty-pants and donated everything online.
You'll notice the amount the check on the check is $2,065.37. While a nice chunk of change, our team actually donated more than this after they made the checks out. Our grand total, counting the last-minute donations, and the $20 bucks our team found on the ground and gave to ACS (which may or may have not been counted in) was... drumroll please....
Again, that's with the extra $20 found at the event. As you can note from the Relay home page, this was (narrowly) the most amount of money raised online. It was also one of, if not the largest, amount raised by a new first-year team. So everyone can swell with a little bit of pride that when our powers combined we had a noticeable impact on a good cause.
I'd just like to say again that I am really pleased with everyone's generosity and support for this event. When I originally set a goal of $1500, I was worried that I had set the bar too high and we wouldn't be able to come close to this goal. Instead, the users here blew my expectations away, raising about $600 more for cancer than I had asked. You guys rock so much I don't even care about the sunburn, the blisters, or the sore knee I got from my part in the Relay. ;)