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Riverbank Relay Continues To Grow

With blue skies and a slight easterly wind, Riverbank Relay for Life organizers were anything but disappointed with the sunshine they were dealt on Saturday, May 31.

"The weather is on our side," Event Chairperson Albert Veldstra said Saturday morning, shortly following the opening ceremonies.

"It's great," Event Co-Chairperson Karen Bickford said of the people circling the track of Riverbank High School. "We've almost doubled the number of teams we had last year and before today even started, we've already collected more (money) than we raised last year."

This year marked the second year for Riverbank's Relay for Life event. The event is an American Cancer Society fundraising event, encouraging cancer survivors, their friends, families and community members to gather for a 24-hour period to raise funds and awareness in the fight against cancer.

Of the 18 reported teams, many hosted opportunity drawings, as well as sold items offering spectators and participants additional opportunities to contribute to the worthwhile fundraiser.

According to the chairperson, a final number of $40,000 was reported to the crowd during closing ceremonies on Sunday morning.

"We're looking really good," he said of the number, adding that the group has until late August before the final fundraising total will be recorded. Donations for the event are still being accepted.

"We're feeling real good about it," he said of reaching their $50,000 goal.

Veldstra reported a number of noticeable differences for the second year event, namely the increase in the number of cars and people.

The chairperson shared that last year's event held few challenges in the way of providing RV parking for teams desiring to bring motor homes, indicating that several used the stadium parking lot. This year, Veldstra said the RV's had to be directed to a side street to allow for more space for the automobiles.

"That is the one thing that jumped out at me," he said. "The parking lot was packed and cars were parked on the street by the parking lot entrance.

"The sea of people during the opening ceremony was great."

Overall, organizers said, the second year was a solid one for Riverbank.

"We're very pleased with the outcome and very pleased with the community support," Veldstra stated. "We are really looking forward to next year. The committee members learned a lot from this year's event. We learned a lot, so we can really start fine tuning for next year."

For additional information on Riverbank's event and other Relay for Life community events around the region, visit or call 800-ACS-2345.