Final preparations are being made for the 2012 Franklin County Relay for Life set for this Friday and Saturday, June 8-9, at the Washington Fairgrounds.

The family-friendly relay will take place from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday. People do not need to be a part of a team to attend the relay festivities.

The 2012 theme, which ties in with “The Wizard of Oz,” is “There’s No Place Like HOPE.”

This year’s fundraising goal, set by the American Cancer Society, is $160,000. Karla Frank, the event chair, said she is optimistic the goal will be met.

“Right now we’re on pace to meet (it),” she said.

The Relay co-chair is Wendy Wildberger, cancer survivor and past Franklin County Hero of Hope.

A total of 63 teams, with members ranging in age from 10 to 44, are participating in the event. Frank said she hopes more than 2,000 will attend the relay.

Last year, the relay was cut short by severe weather. Organizers called off the event at about 10:30 p.m., just hours into the event. This year, however, there is no rain in the forecast, Frank said.

“I check at least seven times a day,” she said.

To showcase this year’s theme, the fairgrounds will be divided into scenes from “The Wizard of Oz”: “Kansas,” which is where the movie began, “Munchkin Land,” “Yellow Brick Road” and “Witches Castle.”

“Emerald City” is survivor alley, a special place for cancer survivors.

On Thursday, June 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Relay teams and participants can pick up last-minute information, ask questions and turn in paperwork at Park View Hall.

Schedule of Events

The opening ceremony will begin at 6 p.m., Friday with the survivors lap to follow directly after the ceremony.

The 2012 Heroes of Hope, Glen and Lyn Roehrig, will speak during the opening ceremony. In 1996, the Roehrigs lost their son Nathan to a rare form of cancer. He he was 2 years old.

The kids corner will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. The corner is a free area for children that will include storytelling, craft projects, a movie and games. The kids corner is sponsored by Washington Electric, The Pawn Shop and Spinnin’ Image, all of Washington.

Booths will be set up by teams for fundraising throughout the evening.

The luminaria ceremony will begin at 9:30 p.m.

Luminaria bags will be placed around the fairgrounds the night of the relay to honor cancer survivors and those who have passed away from cancer.

Frank noted that people can still purchase luminaria bags through 8:30 p.m. Friday evening. Luminarias are $5.

If people would like to purchase a luminaria but can’t make it to the relay, Frank said she can pickup locally. To schedule a pickup, people may call Frank, 636-667-0088. The bags also can be purchased at

At 11 p.m. the Fight Back ceremony will be held. During the ceremony, participants are invited to make a personal commitment to save lives by taking up the fight against cancer. Last year’s Eastern Missouri Hero of Hope, Lucia Patterson, is scheduled to speak during the ceremony.

Patterson has battled three types of cancer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. Around 1998-99, a tumor was found in her colon. She later was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer.

Patterson was scheduled to speak last year, but the Fight Back ceremony didn’t take place because of strong storms that put an early end to the evening.

Following the “Wizard of Oz” theme, around 1 a.m. a munchkin parade will take place with prizes for the best costume.

From 2 to 3:30 a.m. “Relay-Oke” or relay karaoke will be held.

To get the morning going, from 4 to 5 a.m.  a “Dance, Dance, Dance” event will be held with several types of dancing taking place.

New this year will be a rooster calling contest, which will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 a.m.

Also new this year is the location of the survivors lounge, which was moved from the pavilion area to the track. The lounge, which is sponsored by Household Sales & Leasing, will include root beer floats and survivor activities.

The location change was to help get survivors more involved, Frank said, adding that she still hopes to register more survivors. Now, there are about 150 survivors registered.

Last year, just over 200 survivors took part in the Relay. This year, Frank hopes for 225. Survivors can register up to the day of the Relay by contacting Frank.

The closing ceremony will begin at 6 a.m. Saturday.


At this year’s kickoff event, held back in February, the Franklin County Relay for Life was presented with the “Thanks a Million” award.

A total of $1.9 million had been raised from county-wide Relays over the last 13 years. The amount has now topped $2 million.

Only 18 Relay events in Missouri and 104 Relays in the High Plains Division have received the award.

Frank said she hopes many will come out to celebrate survivorship during the relay.

For more information or questions, people may contact Frank by phone or email