The Williamsburg Relay for Life will hold its first planning meeting for the 2019 event on Tuesday, and along with new leadership and new goals, they are looking for new people to get involved.
Kaye Vickerman was recently recruited to be the event chairwoman, and she’s setting major goals for both the group and this year’s event.
“We’ve had our numbers down the last couple of years, both volunteers and donations, and we need to get back where we were,” Vickerman said. “We really want to go gangbusters for this year’s event, and we just need a little help to make that happen.”
Relay for Life is a community-based fundraising event for the American Cancer Society; there are more than 5,000 events in more than 20 countries each year. Events have raised more than $5 billion for the organization since 1985.
Locally, the Williamsburg Relay for Life has raised more than $2 million since it was first organized 18 years ago. As recently as 2004, Williamsburg’s Relay rated No. 4 nationally for a community its size.
It’s a legacy that Vickerman hopes to revive at this year’s event and in the future.
“Last year, our goal was to raise $120,000, but there have been years where we’ve raised as much as $400,000 in a single Relay event, so we’re aiming higher this year,” said Vickerman. “Williamsburg is a great place to be, one that has always has generously given to charity, and as the town grows, so should our commitment to the Relay.”
Tuesday’s meeting, the group’s first of the year, will finalize many key details for the event, including the final location. In addition to interested teams looking to participate, Williamsburg Relay is looking for volunteers, especially people interested in helping with children or event registration, as well as sponsorships and prize donations. Team meetings will then be held the third Tuesday of every month, with several fundraisers held in the lead up to the event on May 31.
Corliss Tacosa, publicity chairwoman, stressed the importance of meetings such as this, given the amount of planning that goes into Relay for Life.
“It’s very important, because it takes a while to organize an event like this. It helps with the logistics and planning that makes the event possible,”Tacosa said. “We try to make it fun and motivate team leaders to go out there and get the volunteers involved, and it all starts here.”
With six teams already signed up, Vickerman is optimistic about surpassing last year’s number of registered teams, which was 65. For her though, it’s about more than just bigger numbers. A survivor of breast cancer herself who has been involved with Relay for Life for 10 years, she knows personally that all of this work goes to a great cause.
“We want to bump up the numbers, and we want more folks to come out and participate, so we hope to see a lot of interested people,” said Vickerman “Our theme the event this year is ‘Superheroes Wanted’, and to everybody doing this, raising money for cancer survivors and research, you may not have a cape, but you get to be a hero.”
Want to attend?
The Kick-Off Meeting for Williamsburg Relay for Life will be from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday in Room C at the James City Recreation Center on Longhill Road. Those interested but unable to attend are encouraged to call Vickerman at 757-561-6397 or Mary Beth Taylor at 757-493-7946.