Wilton kicks off Relay for Life on Tuesday

The Wilton community will have the opportunity to learn about and register for this year’s Wilton Relay for Life during a relay kick-off on Tuesday, Feb. 10.

Wilton Relay for Life Chairperson Sara Augenbraun  said everyone is welcome to attend the 7 to 8 p.m. event at Westy’s, 65 Danbury Road. There will be a slideshow, luminaria ceremony, door prizes, entertainment, and light hors d’oeuvres will be served.

The community get to meet the Wilton Relay for Life 2015 Committee at the kick-off, as well as this year’s honorary chair.

“The honorary chair is a ninth grader at Wilton High School,” said Wilton Relay for Life Chairperson Sara Augenbraun. “I haven’t met her yet, but I’m told she’s lovely.”

Ms. Augenbraun said the number of kick-off attendees varies year-to-year, often depending upon the weather.

“Last year, we had about 60 people come to the kick-off, but our goal is to have more people this year,” said Ms. Augenbraun, who also was chair of last year’s Wilton Relay for Life.

“I’m hoping it happens on the 10th, but if anything happens, the snow date is Feb. 17, which is still a Tuesday.”

Changes

This year’s Wilton Relay for Life will be held Friday, May 29, to Saturday, May 30.

Instead of the usual $10 fee, Ms. Augenbraun said, registration is free this year, and the team with the most participants registered between Feb. 1 and the Feb. 10 kick-off will be able to select their campsite first.

About 500 people participated in last year’s relay, which had a 1960s theme.

“That was the first time we had a theme, but it went over pretty well so we’re having another theme this year,” said Ms. Augenbraun.

Like the honorary chair, she  said, this year’s theme will be announced at the kick-off.

Impact

According to the American Cancer Society’s annual cancer statistics report, a 22% drop in cancer mortality over two decades led to the avoidance of more than 1.5 million cancer deaths that would have occurred if peak rates had persisted.

“Wilton should be proud that the funds raised for Relay for Life by our community are a part of the reason for this great progress in the fight against cancer,” said Ms. Augenbraun.

“Unfortunately, cancer still touches almost everyone,” added Wilton Relay for Life Co-chair Mary Ann Lutz. “As such, we must continue to ask for the participation of the Wilton community in this event which means so much to so many.”

More than four million people in more than 20 countries participate in Relay for Life each year to raise cancer awareness and research funds. Ms. Augenbraun said Wilton raised “more than some of the larger towns” last year.

“Our goal was $150,000 last year and we raised $136,000, so were close to our goal,” said Ms. Augenbraun. “This year, our goal is $160,000, so we’re still aiming high and we hope to hit our goal this year.”

Ms. Augenbraun said she hopes more local businesses will support Wilton Relay for Life this year.

“We have some support,” she said, “but we would love to see more.”

For more information or to register, visit relayforlife.org and search for “Wilton.”