Liberty Relay for Life continues through rain

By D.A. Wilkinson


Rain began just as the 2011 Liberty Relay for Life began in Churchill Park, but didn’t deter those who wanted to raise funds to fight cancer.

Around 6 p.m., with music blasting, people began the 24-hour walk.

The Liberty event also includes participants from Girard, Howland and Hubbard.

June Smallwood, Liberty Township’s parks and special projects director, said about 25 teams would take part, but two more groups joined in to make the total 27.

Last year, the program raised about $186,000.

“Our goal is set by the national [American Cancer Society],” Smallwood said.

The society estimated that the event would climb to $196,000 this year.

One young boy had a poster that read, “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Captain Cure!” It added, “Blast You Cancer.”

One of the tents listed the names of local residents who have battled cancer. Some people write a note and put it with the name.

Taylor Rudolphi of Liberty said there are about 200 such names on the wall.

Fourteen new ones were waiting to be added.

“We’ll probably be adding more before the evening is over,” she said.

Sunny Smallwood is a team captain who works at the Lanai Salon in Howland. She said she is cutting hair that will be about 10 to 12 inches long that will go to Wigs for Kids to replace their hair loss because of chemotherapy and other diseases.

Judith Johnson who has fought cancer, said of the crowd, said, “I’ve never seen so many entries. It’s a party. It’s a celebration.”

The Relay for Life is the chief fundraiser for the ACS.

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