Blaine Relay for Life July 12-13 at Blaine High School

The Blaine Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday, July 12 at Blaine High School.

Cancer survivors Sue Thorson, Sheila Kallio, Patti Zalazar-Sumstad and Jennifer McCullough led the survivors lap at last year’s Blaine Relay for Life. Thorson will be one of two speakers during this year’s opening ceremony, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 12 at the Blaine High School football track. The event officially runs from 5 p.m. July 12 through 5 a.m. July 13. File photo by Tim Hennagir

Cancer survivors Sue Thorson, Sheila Kallio, Patti Zalazar-Sumstad and Jennifer McCullough led the survivors lap at last year’s Blaine Relay for Life. Thorson will be one of two speakers during this year’s opening ceremony, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 12 at the Blaine High School football track. The event officially runs from 5 p.m. July 12 through 5 a.m. July 13. File photo by Tim Hennagir

The event runs through 5 a.m. Saturday, July 13 and it will hopefully be the first time in three years that the relay will be on the Blaine High School track itself.

Rain forced the walkers into the field house two years ago, according to American Cancer Society Community Relations Representative Marlene Goble. The Blaine Relay for Life took place in the high school parking lot last year when the track was being resurfaced and the event was cut short due to more rain.

The lap of silence after the luminary bags are lit around 9:15 p.m. is a time to reflect on lives ended too soon, but Goble said Relay for Life is meant to be a fun event that also celebrates those who have won their cancer battles.

The 12-hour fundraiser begins at 5 p.m. with a reception for cancer survivors and their families. The silent auction also starts at 5 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m., local cancer survivors Sue Thorson and Gavin Pierson will share their stories during the opening ceremony.

Cancer survivors will lead the first lap round the Blaine High School track, starting at 7 p.m. Caregivers are asked to join in the second lap. This lap will be led by the Minnesota Oncology’s Fridley location.

There will be a special birthday lap the third time round the track with participants wearing birthday hats and blowing noise makers to celebrate the American Cancer Society’s 100th birthday. Cake will be available after the lap.

Around 10 p.m. there will be a relay workout session with music and a coach giving participants an extra boost of energy. This will take place at the school’s band shell.

Teams can freeze their shirts and see who can thaw them the fastest in the frozen T-shirt contest.

Local pizza restaurants have been great about donating food to the Blaine Relay for Life teams, Goble said. Pizza will be brought in about midnight.

Different games in the middle of the night strive to give laps a new twist. Some of the themes include a poker lap, glow lap and a pajama lap.

Those at the event around 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, July 13 will notice some wearing duct tape and newspapers. This is not an individual fashion statement, but a fashion runway news contest.

Breakfast will be served about 3 a.m. and the closing ceremony starts at 4 a.m. July 13.

As of July 1, 22 teams and 134 individuals have raised $34,354.23.

Goble encourages more people to come out to participate, she said. There is no set fee, but donations help the organization’s mission to fund cancer research.

Participants can show up the night of the event although a T-shirt in their size may not be available or visit www.relayforlife.org and enter Blaine, MN in the search feature.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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