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NewsTribune photos/Matthew Baker Bud Wahl (in sunglasses) of Streator, a 9-year survivor of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, receives a ribbon and medal during survivor recognition of the opening ceremonies of the 2013 Relay for Life of La Salle County. The annual event, which benefits American Cancer Society, has raised about $3 million since 1997.
STREATOR — Three million is a big number and it’s a number that the participants in this year’s Relay for Life of La Salle County became familiar with Friday night.
But first, they learned about 2,900,907.
“That number is the total amount of money we have raised in La Salle County in the fight against cancer since 1997,” Angie McKenzie, event chairman for this year’s Relay event, said during the opening ceremonies in Streator’s City Park.
As big as that $2.9 million figure is it doesn’t include the money raised during 2013. With a goal this year of $240,000, the local fundraising effort was expected to surpass $3 million by Saturday morning.
“I want you to think about that number as you walk the course tonight,” McKenzie said to those gathered in the park. “Think about all of the people that La Salle County has helped over the years.”
Relay for Life events, such as this one, support the American Cancer Society’s efforts in cancer research, cancer-fighting programs and services for cancer patients. Emily Gill, ACS income development representative for the local event, said more than 500 people and 50 fundraising teams were expected to participate in this year’s Relay for Life in Streator.
While the hallmarks of the annual event stayed the same — theme-decorated campsites filled the park and cancer survivors along with family and friends walked laps — the activities shifted slightly within City Park. “The setup is so much better this year,” Gill said. The entertainment and officials ceremonies were held on the stage of Plumb Pavilion, a new band shell that was unveiled this May after three years of planning and a year of construction. Along with Relay for Life, a number of events have already been hosted in the new pavilion. The next will be a Cody Calkins concert 7-9 p.m. Saturday, June 29.