As the line finally subsided and plates were filled with biscuits and gravy, hashbrowns, sausage, bacon and pancakes, Relay for Life Committee co-chairs and DePauw seniors Tyler Archer and Roddrea Smith began the formal presentation. After a slideshow, Smith announced the national theme, "Making a World with More Birthdays," as well as the local Putnam County theme in relation to the national one, "Superheroes to the Rescue."
"Our survivors are our superheroes," Smith said, also mentioning that it was acceptable to wear capes and dress like other comic book superheroes at the events. "Our caregivers are our superheroes."
"It's an important event," Murray said. "We can't help find the cure but we can help the cure come along."
The evening event featured more teams and more DePauw students, as well as a keynote speech from cancer survivor and Greencastle resident Anita Edenfield.
Edenfield was originally diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and found it early enough to be able to treat the disease quickly and successfully. However, she was recently diagnosed with a different kind of cancer, which doctors tell her may be gone once again. By the time the relay takes place between April 30 to May 1, she will know for sure if she has survived cancer twice.
"My faith, my family, and my close friends -- they were my therapy," Edenfield said. "There are many people much younger than I and heroically much older than I...it's very humbling."
As of the evening event, there were 57 teams total. According to Rachel Romas, liason to the American Cancer Society, the goal is to raise $157,500 and host 125 teams. Last year, the event raised $155,000 and hosted 112 teams.
To encourage the county Romas mentioned that Smith and she went to a conference in Michigan for the relay, where only the top 21 relay events in the Great Lakes area of Michigan and Indiana were invited. Putnam County's event in Greencastle was one of those top 21 teams out of over 800 in the area.
"We're ahead of where we were last year," Romas said.
The committee already has several events scheduled before the relay, including the first team captain's meeting on Wednesday, March 16 at 7 p.m., and bank night, which will take place on Tuesday, April 26 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Local businesses are also getting into the act. The Inn at DePauw will host three dinner events on the first three Mondays of April from 5 to 9 p.m., with proceeds going directly to the relay. April 4 will feature Mexican cuisine, April 11 will have Italian and April 18 will have Asian food. Buffalo Wild Wings will also host a similar event, with proceeds during these hours going to the relay on Monday, April 25 from 5 to 8 p.m. The Putnam Inn will also host its own event on Wednesday, April 13 from 5 to 9 p.m.
There are some changes to this year's relay however. Team members will be required upon registering to have each member pay the $10 entry fee up-front so as to reduce problems during the relay. Also, teams will no longer receive Relay T-shirts unless each member raises $100 in funds.
There are also incentive programs this year to encourage teams to raise money quickly and in larger quantities. Teams who have registered up to 10 members by Feb. 22 and have raised $250 as a team by the first captain's meeting will receive wristbands that allow them to eat at the relay for free. There is also an incentive program for individual fundraising -- people who raise a lot of money will be able to select rewards and prizes from an incentive program list.
Perhaps the greatest change is in the scheduling of the Survivors and Caregivers dinners. The Survivors dinner will take place on Saturday, March 12 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics. The Survivor and Caregiver Dinner however will take place at The Inn at DePauw on Thursday, April 28 from 5 to 8 p.m., as opposed to the day of the event. This keeps the survivors participating in the relay from being drained during the rest of the event.
The next upcoming fundraiser event is the Longaberger Basket Bingo Night at the Memorial Student Union Ballroom on Wednesday, March 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. For more information about Relay for Life events, or to sign up or make donations, go to http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=....