This year, the Ottawa County Relay for Life had a special guest leading the parade at the opening ceremony held Friday, June 20, at 6 p.m. Tess Siefke, a sixth grader at the Oak Harbor Middle School, who was stricken with leukemia, wore her superhero cape around the track. This is just one story of many in a county where everyone understands the ups and downs of cancer.
The Relay for Life is a way for survivors, sufferers, family members and friends to come together and raise money to help ease the battles associated with cancer. As of Friday night, the Ottawa County Relay for Life had raised $48,000. The money raised goes towards local programs, such as Look Better, Feel Better and the Wig Bank, but mostly goes towards cancer research. All of the money raised stays within the general area.
The theme of this year’s relay was Stories of Hope. Teams were challenged with having fundraisers geared toward their favorite stories or books. There were 19 teams this year. The Alice in Wonderland team held a tea party fundraiser. There was also a Dr. Seuss themed team who had a girl on a unicycle at the opening ceremony. Next year’s theme is TV game shows.
The Ottawa County Relay for Life has also reached an important milestone, the end of an era; Pam and Mike Winters announced this is their last year as co-chairs of the event. The Winters, who have helped organize the event for years, are moving to Arizona to be with their daughter and her family. The Winters will be greatly missed by their Relay for Life family. A dinner was held in their honor Monday night and they flew out to Arizona on Tuesday. Pam was sure to assure everyone they would be back to visit, especially because their son and his family still live in the area.
Next year, Tami Coppes, Kim Coppes, and Lisa Woods will be taking over as co-chairs.
“They are current committee members and team captains so they have experience with the event,” said Pam. “We know we are leaving the relay in good hands.”
For more information about the Ottawa County Relay for Life or the American Cancer Society, visit relayforlife.org/ottawaco or cancer.org.