Preparations for the first annual Love City Relay for Life® American Cancer Society fundraiser continued building momentum last month with a volunteer recruitment meeting which drew about a dozen residents.
The September meeting showcased Relay for Life® committees and officials hoped to match volunteers’ interests and skills, explained Celia Kalousek, the group’s Volunteer Committee chairperson.
“We had the committee chairs explain a brief summary of what each committee does and then we gave the volunteers an opportunity to sign up for the committee that interested them,” said Kalousek.
“We’re trying to match skills and interests to really get people involved and excited about this.”
While there have been annual Relay for Life® fundraisers on both St. Thomas and St. Croix over the past few years, next year’s event will be the first ever on St. John.
“This will be first time that St. John will host its own Relay for Life®,” said Kalousek. “All the money that is raised here will stay here.”
Funds raised at the event for the St. Thomas/St. John unit of the American Cancer Society will help the group provide education and resource materials about cancer and financial assistance for cancer patients’ travel expenses.
“The funds will help the American Cancer Society financially assist cancer patients with off-island travel for treatment and the purchase of medication,” said the group’s volunteer chairperson. “The American Cancer Society will cover the cost of the barge for cancer patients going to the Charlotte Kimelman Cancer Center on St. Thomas.”
Love City’s first ever Relay for Life® is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, February 19, at the Winston Wells ball field. Well ahead of that date, officials are hoping to recruit a dedicated team of volunteers who will come out and ensure the event’s success this year and in future years, explained Kalousek.
“We’re not just recruiting for this one event,” she said. “This is the first annual Relay for Life® and we want to build on this effort. We want to keep this growing and expanding.”
While the St. John Relay for Life® team has drawn a group of dedicated volunteers, it still lacks an event chairperson and event co-chairperson, Kalousek added.
“We have all of the other committees covered, but we do still need an event chair and co-chair,” she said. “It’s a big commitment, but it’s a worthwhile commitment. Relay for Life® is the American Cancer Society’s signature event to support the fight against cancer.”
“It recognizes the survivors and the caregivers who are fighting the disease and remembers those we’ve lost,.” Kalousek said. “It gives us a tool to fight back.”
With cancer touching the lives of most people in the community, the only way to fight the disease is with a coordinated effort, Kalousek added.
“I don’t know one person who has not be touched by cancer in some way,” she said. “We really need the whole community to make this work and to make it grow year after year.”
Volunteers are still needed for each committee, from luminary committee to marketing and sponsorship. For more information about how to help the St. John Relay for Life® effort, call the St. John Community Foundation office at 693-9410.