Tammy Ackerman, Ginger VanWagoner, Rick and Tanya Norvell lead the cancer-survivor lap of Homer Middle Schoool track on Friday, officially launching the 2014 Relay for Life of Homer.-Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

In spite of stormy weather, Relay beats goal

First-time Relay for Life of Homer event chairs Michelle Drake and Michelle Geagel definitely got their feet wet over the weekend. So did the other 185 registered relayers and weekend add-ons, thanks to heavy, wind-driven rain on Friday.

That’s didn’t dampen Homer’s support of the event, which benefits the American Cancer Society, however.

The fundraising goal was $60,000 “and we raised a total of $65,600 and something,” said Drake. Donations will continue to be accepted through August. 

The event began at 6 p.m. Friday and continued until 2:30 p.m. Saturday. It was held at the Homer Middle School track, where pools of water surrounded team tents and winds threatened to send unsecured tents cartwheeling across the area. Cans of food donated in benefit of the Homer Community Food Pantry and Homer Animal Shelter weighed down luminaria so the brown paper bags weren’t blown away and battery-operated lights, rather than candles, sustained the heart-warming glow that called to mind those who lost their fight against cancer, as well as those who successfully battled or are battling the disease. 

“The rain definitely didn’t break anybody’s spirit,” said Drake, adding that Saturday’s sunshine was “uplifting.”

“We definitely want to thank all our sponsors, all our local businesses that were able to donate prizes for folks that were participating, everybody that showed up to walk and everyone that helped with the entertainment,” said Geagel. “And a huge thank-you to our committee and our team captains for having the teams that were able to come and participate.” 

Now that they’ve organized one Relay, are Drake and Geagle ready to sign up for next year’s event?

“We have not said yes, but neither have we said no,” said Geagel. “Once it gets hold of you, it’s hard to say no.”

Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

Fred Eddy, a cancer survivor, of Anchor Point displays items his Relay for Life team raffled to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society. -Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

Each of them cancer survivors, a three-member honor guard from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10221 in Anchor Point complete the first lap of the Homer Middle School track.-Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

Cancer survivor Pam Augustine of Kittanning, Pa., gets a hug from her niece Delilah Harris of Homer on Friday at the Relay for Life of Homer. -Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News