Top of the morning, March 6, 2014
100 days until Relay for Life
Marge Probasco already has her outfit picked out for this year's Relay for Life of Champaign County: black poodle skirt, polka dot cardigan and, of course, a set of bunny ears. She is, after all, the captain of a team that goes by the name "Fisher Bunnies."
"I look forward to it every year," the 78-year-old retiree — and 37-year cancer survivor — said. "It's good fun for a good cause."
Today starts the 100-day countdown to the 20th Relay for Life, an overnight fundraising walk at Centennial High School's track. As she has done for the past 10 years, Probasco will play along with the theme — this year's is "Rock Out Cancer" with live music throughout the night — by sporting a '50s look on June 14. "You know, Elvis and Fonzie," she said.
Event organizers are hoping to draw 100 teams and raise $250,000. "We've grown a lot but there's still more work to do," publicity chairman Debra Love said, citing numbers from the American Cancer Society:
20 percent — decline in cancer-related deaths the last 20 years.
13.7 million — Americans with a history of cancer who are alive today.
580,000 — people expected to die from cancer this year.
"Because cancer is more survivable than ever, people may think that we've beaten it," Love said. "Nothing is further from the truth."
Eric Robeson has been involved in Relay for Life since 1999, from setting up chairs to serving as co-chair in his role with Champaign West Rotary. While he considers the night "full of positive energy" and "a groundswell of support," Robeson can't wait for the day it's off his calendar.
"I hope one day there's no further need for it — that we've raised enough money to have found a cure," he said. "It'd be nice just to have a giant survivor party."
To register, visit www.relayforlife.org/ChampaignIL or call Debra Love at 217-649-3077.