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updated: 4/13/2013 9:29 PM

Relay for Life at ECC hosts kickoff event

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  • Debbie Weiman of Hampshire sits next to a portrait of her friend Margaret Hite of South Elgin during a kickoff event on Saturday for the American Cancer Society Relay For Life at Elgin Community College. The two are co-captains of a Relay For Life team they called "The Big Girl Panty Club." Hite is a cancer patient. The relay event is June 14-15.

       Debbie Weiman of Hampshire sits next to a portrait of her friend Margaret Hite of South Elgin during a kickoff event on Saturday for the American Cancer Society Relay For Life at Elgin Community College. The two are co-captains of a Relay For Life team they called "The Big Girl Panty Club." Hite is a cancer patient. The relay event is June 14-15.
    Photos by Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Vanessa Velasquez of Elgin decorates a flower pot with her little sister, Julissa, 10, at the American Cancer Society Relay For Life kickoff event Saturday at Elgin Community College. Velasquez is a student at the college, and she and Julissa will be participating in the June 14-15 event for the first time this year. They are walking to honor a family friend who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer.

       Vanessa Velasquez of Elgin decorates a flower pot with her little sister, Julissa, 10, at the American Cancer Society Relay For Life kickoff event Saturday at Elgin Community College. Velasquez is a student at the college, and she and Julissa will be participating in the June 14-15 event for the first time this year. They are walking to honor a family friend who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Meghan Goldbeck, a field associate with the American Cancer Society, signs an "honor wall" banner to remember her great-aunt who died of breast cancer. Goldbeck and a few dozen people gathered at Elgin Community College to kick off the countdown to the ACS Relay For Life, to be held June 14-15.

       Meghan Goldbeck, a field associate with the American Cancer Society, signs an "honor wall" banner to remember her great-aunt who died of breast cancer. Goldbeck and a few dozen people gathered at Elgin Community College to kick off the countdown to the ACS Relay For Life, to be held June 14-15.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Elgin Community College held a kick off gathering on Saturday. Participants gathered to mingle, register, make crafts and learn more about the June event.

       The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Elgin Community College held a kick off gathering on Saturday. Participants gathered to mingle, register, make crafts and learn more about the June event.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 

Walking around a track all night might sound grueling, but those who have participated in an annual cancer fundraiser at Elgin Community College say it's not only worth it -- it's also fun.

Kelly Miedwig of Marengo is looking forward to her third American Cancer Society Relay For Life at ECC on June 14 and 15.

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Miedwig, along with her husband and their two children plus other relatives, attended a kickoff event Saturday at the college.

"It's just fun to have all your family there and know we are doing this together," Miedwig said. She has lost several relatives to cancer, including her mother.

"It's about having hope that it will be better for people in the future, so they don't have to go through what we've been going through," she said.

Twenty-two teams have already registered for this year's relay -- the 11th annual -- but new teams can register up until the day of the event, said Amybeth Maurer, director of first-year programs and student life at ECC.

Relay For Life consists of walking around the ECC track from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., said Meghan Goldbeck, a field associate with the American Cancer Society's Fox Valley regional office in Batavia.

Teams usually make sure at least one member is on the track at all times, she said. "It's to symbolize that cancer never sleeps," she said.

The night is broken up by different events, like a kickoff celebration at 6 p.m., a luminaria ceremony at 9 p.m. and a "fight back" ceremony from midnight to 2 a.m.

Hampshire resident Debbie Weiman will be participating in her fourth Relay For Life in June.

She and her friend Margaret Hite of South Elgin, who is fighting cancer, are co-captains of a team of about 14 people, she said.

"It's fun," Weiman said. "It's a lot of support and enthusiasm to raise money."

ECC student Justin Kelly will be taking part in his first Relay For Life, along with a team of Phi Theta Kappa honor society students.

His uncle and cousin have been diagnosed with cancer, he said.

"I'm not just doing it for myself. I am doing it for other people," he said.

Relay For Life started in 1985, when Tacoma, Wash., surgeon Gordy Klatt spent 24 hours running around a track and raised $27,000 to fight cancer.

About four million people participated last year in Relay For Life events all over the country, and as far as Ireland and Guam, Goldbeck said.

For more information or to register, call (630) 879-9009 or visit RelayForLife.org/eccil.

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