The city kicked off Trumbull County’s first Relay for Life event of 2013 this weekend at the Mayor Infante Wellness Center at Waddell Park.
About 300 people participated in the 24-hour event, which took place from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday.
The American Cancer Society fundraiser is a nationwide movement that allows communities to raise money for cancer research by pledging donations through 24 hours of walking.
Though all the participants walked during the relay, five people walked for the entire relay.
Eighteen-year-old Brandon Velesko of Hubbard walked all 24 hours. He and the other four walkers stopped for only 10 minutes every hour for a bathroom and water break. He admitted he was tired and planned to head home to eat and sleep once the event finished. He said his exhaustion was worth it, however.
“I just wanted to help the people who were fighting cancer and to raise money for cancer research,” he said.
His walking partner, Brianna Ledsome, 14, of Niles, said they averaged 15 laps per hour. Eight laps around the wellness center track equals 1 mile, which equals 45 miles walked throughout the 24-hour period.
The Niles event raised $50,384 through 50/50 raffles, which included gift baskets with crafts, iPads and jewelry, as well as bake sales and other charitable donations.
J.W. Aleshire, relay chairman, said a scheduling conflict forced the local chapter to start its race early this year.
“It’s been a little hectic, but I think we were pretty successful,” said Aleshire, who has been involved with Relay for Life for 18 years. “There was always someone on the track, and the young people that walked for 24 hours are a dedicated, tough bunch.”
The next Relay in Trumbull County is in Warren on May 10. The event starts at 6 p.m. on Courthouse Square at Mahoning Avenue Northwest.
The Youngstown State University Relay will take place Friday and Saturday in Beeghly Center.