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Bellefonte RFL relocates to BEA high school in 2019

by on April 18, 2019 3:37 PM

WINGATE — The Bellefonte Relay for Life will kick-off this year at the Bald Eagle Area High School Athletic Field on Friday evening, May 17 at 6 p.m., and wind up at noon on Saturday, May 18.

This is a new site for the relay. The Bellefonte Relay for Life Committee has chosen “Disney, Wish Upon a Cure!” for their theme in 2019.
Dana Graupensperger, co-lead of the 2019 Bellefonte Relay for Life said, “We start our planning in September and the team captains are meeting by October each year.” Pam Royer is co-lead with Graupensperger, who is filling the position for the second year.

The local relay was initiated in 1994 when Fred Wedler, a Penn State cancer researcher, was in the hospital dying of cancer. Mike Doto, American Cancer Society (ACS) president, came to the hospital and told Wedler that the ACS was starting a signature event in his honor in Bellefonte in 1995. As more relays started up in Centre County, the Bellefonte event was named the Centre County Relay for Life. It later became the Bellefonte Relay for Life. After Dr. Wedler died, his widow, Vickie Wedler, became the first chair of the new relay in 1995.

In 2005, the committee moved the relay to the Grange Fair Grounds in Centre Hall and teams had the option of participating in Centre Hall or Bellefonte. Most teams went to Centre Hall, but a few stayed with the Bellefonte Relay and rebuilt it. Relay participants came together at the Bellefonte High School football stadium until 2010, when the committee moved the event to Governor’s Park in Bellefonte.

“The new site was chosen because it is a more level area for the walkers and survivors and it offers more visibility,” said Royer, co-lead for Bellefonte’s Relay.

The Bellefonte Relay for Life Committee includes the following:

  • ACS community development manager – Tom Chucuddy
  • event lead – Dana Graupensperger
  • event co-lead and team ambassador – Pam Royer
  • Relay recess and fundraising – Gail Miller (Former Lead)
  • community champion – Melissa Danser
  • sponsorship lead – Sally Houser
  • mission/ACS can/Relay recess – Tara Ripka
  • team/children’s activities lead – Lori Millward
  • luminaria leads – Robin Lewis and Marilyn Daub
  • survivorship co-lead – Gail Miller
  • survivorship co-lead – Lu Hartman
  • team recruitment – Sandy Balboni
  • Program Book Lead/Video Creator – Adam Hocker
  • Logistics on site Lead – Shane Royer
  • Facebook Lead – Jason Nicholls
  • Marketing and Publicity Co-Lead – Kathy Murray
  • Accounting Co-Lead – Kathy Lambert
  • Marketing, Publicity and Accounting Co-Lead – Rosalind Laudenslager
  • Photographer – Cecil Houser

The fundraising continues throughout the year and includes daffodil sales, basket parties like one held recently at the Bald Eagle High School Cafeteria, sales of Spikes ticket, golf passes and more.

Team recruitment is the job of anyone who is involved with the relay. Twenty-three teams have registered and $32,737 has been raised so far. Thirty-nine survivors have registered. It is not too late to register — it’s possible right up to the start of the relay.

This year’s relay will include many events that the public is familiar with such as the judging of team site decorating, Survivor Celebration Lap, and the Luminaria Ceremony. But the committee has added games, a raffle, a color run, face painting, speakers, Karaoke and much more to keep everything moving and enjoyable for all.



Connie Cousins covers Centre County for the Gazette.
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