10th Phoenixville Relay For Life raises $72,000

Photo by Barry Taglieber The cancer survivors take their first lap during opening ceremonies for the Phoenixville Relay for Life.

PHOENIXVILLE — The community continued its fight against cancer last weekend during Relay For Life, raising more than $72,000.

During the 10th annual Relay held at Valley Forge Christian College, various relay teams camped out and ran overnight on the track for 24 hours straight to raise awareness and money for cancer, as well as support cancer victims, their families and also cancer survivors.

One of the chairs of the event, Jennifer Epps, said during the last nine years Relay participants have raised approximately $1.7 million dollars.

“The teams all fundraised throughout the year, and then just collecting local donations from friends and family. We begin all of this in September, so it takes a lot of hard work to get to this point.”

Money can continue to be raised through August.

This year, the event had a Disney theme.

“We wanted to do something a little different,” said Epps. “We had Disney characters there. Baskets that were made up, were done with a Disney theme.”

Epps said the event also celebrated the 10th anniversary of Phoenixville’s Relay For Life.

Epps said, “This year ‘Wishing on a Star and Celebrating Ten Magical Years’ was the actual theme, so people could run with it however they felt like it.”

This year 314 participants signed up for a total of 27 teams.

There was a Survivors’ Lap and a Caregivers’ Lap that people could particpate in and run. The culmination of the whole event was the luminary ceremony on Saturday night.

“It went very, very well,” said Epps. “The entire track was lined with luminary bags.”

For the second year, canned goods were collected to hold the candles in the luminary bags. The canned items were then donated to Phoenixville Area Community Services.

Despite the rainy weather, this year the Survivor Dinner was held under one of the tents set up in the quad of the VFCC on Saturday night.

“We had close to 160 people, which was more than we’ve ever had,” said Epps.”Because it was a special year, we wanted to have everything done on the field during the relay, to try and keep as many of the survivors with us during the whole event. It’s just a wonderful time for survivors and caregivers alike to get together. They share their stories. We have clowns come in. We have raffles. It’s a wonderful time for people to kind of relax, sit back, laugh and have a good time.”

Epps said she hopes anyone who wants to be involved next year will get in touch.

“Everybody can particpate,” she said. “People sometimes just come out to walk. They aren’t part of a team or haven’t raised any money, but they know someone who has had cancer, (or) who’s passed away from cancer. It’s a time to reflect on just spending time with people who have been there, who have shared in different aspects of having cancer.”

Relay For Life is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

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