June 18, 2008

Relay for Life Hopes to Top $78,500 Goal

By Stacy Wolford, The Valley Independent, Monessen, Pa.

Jun. 18--MONESSEN -- Two-time cancer survivor Rosalie Nicksich is hoping the Relay For Life set for this weekend will top last year's goal.

And she's confident the Mid-Mon Valley will once again make the annual event an overwhelming success.

After a year of planning, the eighth annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life of the Mon Valley is set for Saturday and Sunday at the City Park walking track.

Teams will begin walking at 8 a.m., and the opening ceremony is scheduled for noon Saturday.

Monessen native Melanie Taylor, of B-94 radio, will be the mistress of ceremonies.

This year's ambassador is Belle Vernon Mayor James Bitonti.

Opening ceremony guest speaker will be cancer survivor Mary Kreis, a California University of Pennsylvania associate professor who participated on the 2005 Lance Armstrong Tour of Hope cross-country bicycling team.

Nicksich, the relay chairwoman, said the event raised about $72,000 last year, and this year's goal is $78,500. The effort it well on its way after the annual Youth Relay for Life held at Charleroi Area High School raised about $32,000 earlier this year. That money will be combined with what is raised this weekend.

Nicksich said there are about 20 teams so far planning to participate in the relay.

"We're expecting a good turnout and we're hoping that even people not walking will come and enjoy the activities," she said.

There will be new events this year, including a "Fight Back" ceremony at 3 p.m. Saturday featuring the Monessen High School cheerleaders.

Nicksich said everyone in the community is invited to come and find out how to "fight back against this dreaded disease every day of the year."

Money raised from the Relay For Life will go to the American Cancer Society to fuel research projects and patient service programs.

Other highlights include the survivor ceremony at 7 p.m. and the traditional luminaria ceremony at 9 p.m.

The relay will end 7:30 a.m. Sunday with a closing ceremony.

Stacy Wolford can be reached at [email protected] or 724-684-2640.


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