Tower Park will be home to this year's Relay for Life of Campbell County on May 30-31. People from all throughout the Northern Kentucky area will be coming together to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Since cancer doesn't sleep, the Relay for Life event won't sleep either. The event lasts all night beginning on Friday, May 30 at 5:00pm and finishing up at 6:00am on Saturday, May 31.
Relay for Life has been hosted by several Northern Kentucky cities in previous years. This year, the board chose to bring Relay for Life to Fort Thomas, and asked several Fort Thomas residents to help coordinate the event. I spoke with Linda Stapleton Slone about this year's event. Slone serves on The Relay for Life of Campbell County board, while also working as Relay for Life's event coordinator and publicist. Slone and will also be running the “Win for Quinn” booth during the event. Needless to say, she's full of insider knowledge of this year's event.
Slone first became involved in Relay for Life in 2006 when she lost her grandson, Quinn Stapleton, to an inoperable brain tumor. “I continue to do all that I can in Quinn’s honor and memory,” said Slone. “He was so brave and strong in his fight to win. Quinn is my hero!” For Slone, Relay for Life is a family affair. Her son, Aaron Stapleton, is the event chairperson, and her daughter, Bridget Clore, is in charge of the luminaries.
This year's event will include all the great aspects of the previous Relay for Life events, but will also feature more activities for attendees to enjoy. This year's Relay for Life is jam-packed with entertainment and activities for the community to enjoy. When Slone was initially approached to help plan the event, she was specifically asked to make sure that this year's Relay for Life would bring together attendees from throughout the Northern Kentucky area for a night or fun. “I know in the past that the Relay For Life has been mostly about teams who sign up to raise money prior to the event and the evening of the event,” said Slone. “This year, I was asked to make this an event that others would want to attend. Normally, each team has their own fundraiser either before the event and the evening of the event. We sell items to try to raise more money for the Relay For Life. This year, we were wanting other events to happen, so the public would be interested in attending. So, I pulled together my resources that I have used from my other committees. I have several bands and different things happening all night long. I just started asking people to come and help. Everyone is so supportive when it came to helping!”
Slone and her fellow event planners have created a night full of enjoyable activities for attendees. They have worked to make sure that people have fun at this year's event. However, Relay for Life is also a way to honor those who have battled cancer. In addition to the lighthearted entertainment, there will also be moments of reflection. “I think I look forward to the emotions that flow thru your body during the Relay, especially the Luminaria Ceremony. It is so awe-inspiring, sad but inspiring to hear the names. At that moment, we are all having the same thoughts of our loved ones, our memories are all alive. We honor our loved ones in tears and in memories. It will be emotional but it will be awesome,” said Slone.
This year's keynote speaker is Ken Shields, who is best known for serving as Northern Kentucky University's men's basketball coach. When the board members were trying to think of someone who would be both emotional and motivational, Shields seemed to fit the bill perfectly. “He has always been so dynamic that he just seemed to fit what we felt we needed to start us off,” said Slone.
Throughout the entire event, teams of walkers will be circling the Mess Hall area. “This is a silent way to show strength, endurance and good faith that we are working to end the fight for a cure, that the cure has been found. Most do this because they have a good friend or a family member that has survived or have lost,” said Slone. There will be eighteen teams of walkers this year, and there will be a representative from each team walking at all times throughout the night.
Relay for Life is a unique way to bring the community together for a common goal. According to Slone, it's important that the event has our support. “I would like the Fort Thomas Community to know that we need their support. We need them to come be with us on Friday evening. To come have fun with their families and friends. To be with us. To help us fight back. To honor ours and their loved ones! To celebrate the survivors and to encourage them! To help us find a cure for cancer! The evening is for the community to draw closer together in finding the cure! Everyone is welcome!” Relay for Life is not only for friends and family members of those affected by cancer. This event is for anyone in the Fort Thomas community, and throughout all of Northern Kentucky.
The Campbell County Relay for Life event officially kicks off at 5:00pm on May 30 at Tower Park, and won't stop until 6:00am the next morning. When I mentioned earlier that the event was jam-packed with activities and entertainment, I wasn't kidding. There's something for everyone to enjoy and support this year. Check out the event schedule here:
5:00pm: Survivor Dinner with a prayer by Rob Roy
6:00pm: Opening Ceremony
6:15pm: Ken Shields Keynote Speaker (featuring Jill Fessler singing the Star Spangled Banner)
6:30pm: Survivor Lap
6:45pm: Team Lap
6:45pm: Josh McIntosh & Company Band
7:00 – 9:00pm: Michael's Crafts
7:00 – 10:00pm: Home Depot Crafts
7:00pm: Tradisi (Master Fry Defense Dance Team)
7:00pm: Ben-Gals pictures & autographs
7:30pm: Master Fry Defense Demonstration
8:00pm: Blue Marble Story Time
8:00pm: Whipped Cream Slingshot
8:30 – 9:30pm: Teri Foltz Comedy Hour
9:45pm: Tom Thompson plays bagpipes
10:00pm: Luminaria Ceremony @ Amphitheater (featuring Sarah Crail on keyboard, Rob Roy prayer, Master Fry Survivor Speech, and reading of the names in honor & in memory of the luminary bags)
10:45pm: Johnny Horan from Stonehaus Trail – acoustical music
12:00am: Line Dancing by Jeannine Teagarden
12:00am: Frozen t-shirt contest
1:30am: Dude Looks Like A Lady Contest
2:30am: Musical Chairs Scavenger Hunt
3:30am: Whipped Cream Slingshot
5:30am: Closing Ceremony & Fight Back Speech
6:00am: Final Lap/Close of Event