For the 12th annual year of Salem Relay for Life, the theme is “There’s no place like HOPE,” referencing Dorothy’s ruby-red slipper clicking magical mantra in The Wizard of Oz.
At last count on the website (www.relayforlife.org/salemva), Salem’s 25 teams and 70 participants have already raised $13,142 since the Jan. 3 kickoff meeting.
“We’re going to take all the little aspects of the movie like hope and happiness and really bring them to life for the characters,” said Julie Terrell, community manager with the American Cancer Society. There will be, of course, a costume contest for each of the characters, a yellow brick road, and lots of balloons in honor of the big hot air balloon that takes Dorothy home. “The balloons represent that we’re going to bring our survivors home and give them hope,” Terrell said.
Last year, the city of Salem was fifth-place in the nation per capita for communities with population sizes from 25,000 to 29,999. The Salem Relay in June raised a total of $140,190. Combined with Roanoke College’s total of $22,416 (they host their own campus-centered event in April), the total was $162,606.
Fundraising goals for this year are $175,000, but Terrell said the focus will be on community involvement: “We know that if we can get the people involved, then we’ll get more of the community involved, and then the money will just happen,” she said.
Judie LaPrad and Dave LeFevers are on their second year of chairing the Salem Relay for Life event together.
The next Salem Relay for Life organization meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, February 7 at the Salem Civic Center.