The Benton County Relay For Life of Benton County will be Friday, June 10, at the Benton Community School Track, west entrance, Van Horne. The goal this year is $35,000. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend this fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Parking will be available south of the track, weather permitting. There will be seating in the bleachers or bring a lawn chair. Center Stage Productions will be the emcee for the evening. The concession stand will be open, manned by Benton Athletic Boosters.

6 p.m. – Opening ceremony with a welcome by Marty Junge, Van Horne mayor, invocation by Pastor David Lingard, St. Andrew Lutheran, flag raising by Benton County American Legion members and National Anthem, led by Jon DeGraff. Members of 15 teams will begin walking the track. These participants have raised money as a team to fight back and fund research, education and advocacy.

7 p.m. – Survivors Celebration with Linda Hartzler, a 13 1/2 year cancer survivor, sharing her story of clinical trials she has participated in the last four years. As the survivors come on the track, they will give their name and years they have survived. Each one will be given a balloon that will be released after their celebration lap. Golf carts will be available for anyone not able to walk the lap. Following the survivors lap, there will be a lap to honor family, friends and caregivers.

Because the goal of the ACS is to create more birthdays, one survivor will receive a birthday cake. Another survivor will receive a pillow.

Survivors need to report by 6:30 to receive their t-shirt.

There will be two new events this year. Schallau Ford, Van Horne, will be sponsoring Driving Against Cancer by Ford. By filling out a form, there will be an opportunity to drive a new or unique vehicle. Ford Motor Company will donate $20 for every one who participates. There will also be colorful pinwheels that one can write messages of hope to family or friends who have heard the words “you have cancer.” These are available for a free will donation and can be taken home to display.

7:30 p.m. – Kim and Ryan Fisher will be in charge of several games and contests, including basketball, bean bag toss and frozen t-shirt contests. There will also be face and nail painting and Cari Ann Sahu will be making animal balloons. Kelsey Struve, massage therapist will be available. These activities will continue throughout the evening.

8 p.m. – There will be special laps and the teams will continue to walk.

Dusk – The candles will be lit for the luminaria ceremony. Anyone who has purchased a luminaria to honor or remember a loved one may light their candle. All the names will be read during this ceremony.

9:45 – Closing ceremony

American Cancer Society volunteers will be assisted by members of the Benton Community Student Council.

Everyone attending is asked to bring a can of food, 14 to 16 ounces. These cans will hold the candles in the luminaria bags and then be donated to Benton County Food Banks.

Sponsors are: Gold ($1,000) The Star Press Union; Silver ($750) The Watkins Savings Bank; Bronze ($500) Atkins Lumber Company, Inc., Belle Plaine Rotary Club and Vinton Lions Club; Signature($250) Afton Marie Photography, Clingman Pharmacy, Coots Materials, Inc., Country Foods, Dr. Mark Siebrecht, Eden Mutual Insurance Assoc., Ideal Industries, Inc., Iowa Mold & Engineering, Inc., Keystone Nursing Care Center, O’Grady Chemical Corp., Thrivent Financial/Benton County 31120, Van Horne Cooperative Telephone Co., Vinton Newspapers & Livewire, Virginia Gay Hospital and Wilson/Hite Insurance.

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is a fund-raising event that brings together the families, friends, neighbors and work associates to celebrate those who have survived cancer and honor those who have not.