Relay still hopes to meet fundraising goal

CHAMPAIGN — Local teams raising money for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life Champaign County have just a month left to meet this year's $200,000 goal.

But a big garage sale, a scavenger hunt and a lot of bowling all planned to raise money over the next few weeks may help the cancer society hit its target.

"We're getting close," said Jill Rannebarger, this year's Champaign County Relay for Life chairwoman.

The relay event held June 9-10 has raised just over $188,000 to date, and teams have until Aug. 31 to keep raising money toward the goal, she said.

The Champaign County relay hasn't met its fundraising goal for the past two years, Rannebarger said, but she's hopeful this year with three community fundraising events coming up.

"This would be great, if we could do it," she says.

One event, called Strike Out Cancer, has been planned by bowling alley owner Bob Kelly.

It will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 11 at five local area bowling alleys, with teens age 13 and older and adults invited to bowl for $2.50 a game. All they pay to play will be donated to the cancer society.

Shoes will be provided, and kids 12 and under can bowl for free, Kelly said.

The owner of Country Tyme Lanes in Rantoul, Kelly said he wanted to do something for the cancer society after his daughter was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer at age 27.

She's now celebrating her third year being cancer-free, he says.

Kelly wasn't involved in Relay for Life, but he hopes to make this an annual fundraising event for the cancer society, he said.

While cancer touched his own life through his daughter, Kelly said, he knows it affects a lot of people.

"If you talk to people, everybody has a personal cancer story," he said. "It's just trying to do something that we can to give back."

Participating bowling alleys in the event:

— Western Bowl, 917 Francis Drive, C.

— Arrowhead Lanes, 1401 N. McKinley Ave., C.

— Old Orchard Lanes, 901 N. Dunlap Ave., Savoy.

— Country Tyme Lanes, 1568 E. Grove Ave., Rantoul.

— Monticello Bowl, 1412 N. Market St., Monticello.

Other events planned to help Relay for Life meet its goal:

— The Harvest Church Relay for Life team will sponsor the Amazing Grace Race and Bags Tournament from 3-5 p.m. Aug. 5 at Hessel Park Pavilion, Champaign.

It will be an afternoon of games, food (hamburgers, hotdogs and homemade ice cream) and family fun.

Teams can sign up to participate in a scavenger hunt based on The Amazing Race reality TV show or a bags game tournament.

The cost is $20 per team for the scavenger hunt and $10 for the bags game.

Cash and gift certificate prizes will go to winners. Registration is on the day of the event.

— Rannebarger's Weird Recycling Team will hold an indoor garage sale from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 18 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 2101 S. Prospect Ave., C.

There's going to be a big assortment of items at the sale, Rannebarger says.

Other relay teams can get involved two ways. They can rent a spot for $10 to sell items and contribute the proceeds toward their own Relay for Life totals, or drop off their items for her team to sell. Either way, all money raised is going to the cancer society,

For information, call or text her at 979-1504 or send an email to Jill@champaignrelay.org.

Shayne Squires, spokeswoman for the cancer society, said that every dollar raised helps people with cancer.

"We're extremely excited about where we're at, but we're just trying to push it over," she said.

Through the recession, the cancer society has worked to get the word out about how the cancer society helps — with a 24-hour hot line, information and support programs and services — and donors have continued to be generous, she said.

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