Relay For Life planning begins

Relay for Life of Randolph County is moving full steam ahead with plans to raise more money than ever to combat cancer.

After all, the theme for this year’s event is “All Aboard the Cancer Cure Express,” Relay For Life director Judy Ritchie announced Monday night at the organization’s kickoff party in the Caboose room of the Elkins Depot Welcome Center.

The 2013 event is slated to take place from noon to midnight June 8 at a new location – the Elkins Town Square behind the train depot center – and organizers are encouraging teams to decorate their tents in accordance with any railroad or train theme they wish.

Another notable change, Ritchie told a room packed full of cancer survivors, caretakers and concerned citizens, is that the American Cancer Society has altered some Relay For Life rules, enabling Randolph’s Relay to be eligible for national awards. Previously, Relay For Life events that did not last overnight didn’t qualify to receive such honors, Ritchie explained.

“That’s another great reason to work extra hard to raise money this year!” she said. “I know sometimes we feel very small against something very big, but a survivor in this room has told me, ‘what you do and what you have done made the medicine that saved my life.’

“You will make a difference,” she added.

Michelle Kerns, a member of Pioneer Insurance Company’s Relay For Life team, said she likes knowing she’s done something to ease the pain and suffering of cancer patients and survivors.

“I lost a brother to brain cancer,” Kerns said. “You see what people with cancer go through and it’s nice to know I’m helping in some small way.

“It may not help someone right now, but I know it’s going to help somebody in the future,” she said.

The deadline for early bird registration is April 15, and every participant who has paid $10 and registered online – visit to sign up – will be rewarded at Relay For Life in June, Ritchie said.

Team captain meetings will take place Mondays at 6 p.m. in the Caboose Room at the train depot center on the following dates: March 4, March 18, April 1, April 15, May 6, May 20 and June 3. Money may be turned in at captains’ meetings or on Tuesdays from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Citizens Bank downtown drive-thru.

To sign up or learn more, contact Ritchie by email at or Mike Alkire by email at Regular updates are also available via the Randolph County Relay For Life’s open group page on Facebook.

Contact Katie Kuba by email at