Relay for Life begins Friday

Tribune Staff • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:35 PM

DeJonge, a two-time cancer survivor, will participate in the Holland-Zeeland Relay for Life’s Survivors Lap with her family, including her two grandchildren: Ayden, 5, and Alec, 3.

Last week, Ayden and Alec set up shop at their Grand Avenue garage sale for three days giving away suckers for each donation to raise money for Relay for Life. Each of the 26 different candy colors corresponded to a certain type of cancer. For instance, an emerald sucker was meant to raise awareness about liver cancer, while a purple sucker was meant to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer. 

“With the help of their parents, Jay and Kel, they made these beautiful Jolly Rancher suckers to raise money for Relay, to support their Nana,” DeJonge said.

The boys raised $100 and presented the donation to Holland-Zeeland’s Relay for Life in honor of their grandmother. She beat lung cancer in 2005 and melanoma in 2011.

“Time for another hundred,” Ayden said after earning more than their $100 goal in just a few hours. “Research is important.”

Relay for Life is “Giving Cancer the Boot!” during this 24-hour country-themed event, taking place from noon June 14 to noon June 15 at Holland Christian High School, 950 Ottawa Ave. in Holland. This Relay for Life event has about 50 teams with an overall goal of $150,000.

This Relay for Life has raised $36,342 to date. With more than 200 people and 40 survivors currently registered, Relay for Life of Holland-Zeeland is expecting to host between 1,200 and 1,500 people and some 250 survivors.

The Grand Haven-Spring Lake Relay for Life event is taking place this Friday and Saturday at White Pines Middle School, 1400 S. Griffin St. in Grand Haven. The local Relay for Life has 18 teams, 122 participants, and has raised $32,318. This event starts at 3 p.m. and ends at 3 p.m. the following day.

Relay for Life events feature cancer survivors, caregivers, family members and supporters as they walk around a track to raise money for cancer research.

Throughout the event, each team is required to have at least one team member on the track at all times. The idea is that “cancer never sleeps” and the 24-hour event brings awareness to the battles that patients face every day.

The opening ceremony for the Grand Haven-Spring Lake Relay for Life is at 6:30 p.m. Friday. At this event, everyone is brought together to start the Relay and celebrate, inspire and remind everyone that cancer is a year-round priority.

Darlene Draisma, a spokeswoman for the Lakeshore Division of Relay for Life in Holland-Zeeland, said that her favorite event is the luminaria ceremony because “we can reflect on the survivors and why we are here.”

— By Riley Thyfault, Tribune intern


*Grand Haven-Spring Lake Relay for Life: 3 p.m. Friday, May 10, to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at White Pines Middle School, 1400 S. Griffin St. in Grand Haven.

* Holland-Zeeland Relay for Life: Noon Friday, June 14, to noon Saturday, June 15, at Holland Christian High School, 950 Ottawa Ave. in Holland,

*Anyone interesting in joining these events may visit www.relayforlife.org, search for “Grand Haven” or “Holland” and click on “Relay for Life Grand Haven-Spring Lake – Grand Haven, MI” or “Relay for Life Holland-Zeeland – Holland, MI.” At these websites, there is a link for “Sign Up” as well as a link for donations.

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