American Cancer Society Relay For Life becomes one event for Greencastle, Chambersburg

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

Changes are afoot for fundraisers in Franklin County, which have brought in millions of dollars in the fight against cancer.

Volunteers and the American Cancer Society see new opportunities as the Greencastle Relay For Life and the Chambersburg Relay For Life join forces.

Teams from both communities and beyond will be "Back on the Track — Racing for a Cure" at the Greencastle Relay For Life from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 21, on the Greencastle-Antrim School District's Kaley Field.

Participants are shown at a previous Chambersburg Relay For Life at Norlo Park in Fayetteville. The American Cancer Society fundraiser has merged with the Greencastle Relay For Life, with one countywide event planned May 21, 2022.

"No one can deny that we have all had to look at new ways of doing things during these last almost two years," Alicia Sinicropi, of the ACS, said in an email about the merger. "One of the things we have had to do is make decisions that will help us make the biggest impact in the fight against cancer."

"We're looking forward to what Chambersburg can bring to Greencastle to make it even better," said Beth Goetz, who co-chairs the 2022 Greencastle Relay For Life with June Hann.

Leadership and team captains from both Relays met Jan. 18, shared their Relay experiences and talked about plans for this year's event.

Strength in numbers

Hann extended a welcome to "our Chambersburg neighbors," some of them already connected to Greencastle, where the first local Relay For Life was held in May 1995.

Chambersburg teams originally participated in the Greencastle event, remembered Linda Stoler of Greencastle, who has been involved since the beginning. The Chambersburg Relay For Life started in 2004, while Greencastle remained the hub for southern Franklin County.

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Eric Alleman got his start in Greencastle through his mother-in-law, Karen Showalter, and has led the Chambersburg Relay for eight to 10 years.

Cancer survivor Kristian Frank joined Alleman as co-chair of the Chambersburg Relay in 2021, when an in-person event was held at Norlo Park in Fayetteville, following a drive-through in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Greencastle's Relays were limited to an evening of luminarias in 2020 and a vehicle parade through Greencastle, followed by a luminaria display at the school complex in 2021.

Kristian Frank, left, and Eric Alleman, co-chaired the Chambersburg Relay For Life in 2021. The American Cancer Society fundraiser has merged with the Greencastle Relay For Life, with one countywide event planned May 21. 2022.

Alleman and Frank see the location of the Greencastle Relay as a big asset. There were a lot of logistics involved in their Relay at the park, such as hauling in lighting for the overnight event.

The two of them talked, then they spoke with Connie Woodruff, who was ACS staff partner at the time, then Woodruff talked to Hann and Goetz.

Coming together is an opportunity to keep the energy going in the right direction, according to Alleman, who also is changing jobs and is unsure how much time he will be able to devote to the Relay.

With more resources, volunteers can "accomplish more together than alone," said Frank, who also is involved in strategic planning with the south-central Pennsylvania region of the American Cancer Society and participates in Voices of Hope, the ACS speakers program.

Frank was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in June 2011 and also has melanoma. His mother, too, had Hodgkin's lymphoma and his grandmother survived non-Hodgkin's mantle cell lymphoma in her late 70s.

"Why not pool our resources? We're so close ... it took me 15 minutes to get here," Frank said, after the meeting at Greencastle's Rescue Hose Co.

Alleman and Frank are hoping for a renewed sense of energy if they don't have so many responsibilities. Unlike many, they don't mind asking for money, and they both look forward to doing more fundraising.

"We're not the notetakers, we're the sales guys," said Alleman.

Sue and Dave Mummert from the Chambersburg Relay also were at the leadership meeting.

She is an 11 1/2 year breast cancer survivor and captain of the Soaring Eagles team.

Her husband of more than 40 years explained he's already connected to the Greencastle Relay, helping out with the bank night drop-off for teams and collecting money at the event.

"Kim Muller was my cousin so she kind of got me involved down here," Dave Mummert said.

Muller co-chaired the Greencastle Relay with her fellow Greencastle-Antrim Middle School wellness teacher Megan Barkdoll for two years before losing her battle with breast cancer in August 2019.

'Back on the Track'

Goetz reported that the goal for 2022 is $85,000. Organizers are hoping for 33 teams, 300 participants and 50 survivors.

Beth Goetz, left, and June Hann are co-chairs of the 2022 Greencastle Relay For Life. Planned on May 21, the theme is 'Back on the track — racing for the Cure!'

Some details are still being worked out, but two main speakers are lined up.

Connie Woodruff, who recently retired after many years as the local ACS partner, will be the opening speaker.

Marcy Hoffman of Mercersburg, who lost her 56-year-old husband, Doug, to lung cancer in 2019 will speak at the luminaria ceremony.

An open house is planned from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, at the Rescue Hose Co. People can get more information about the Relay, pick up supplies and drop off donations. Cancer survivors can register for the Survivors' Lap. Also planned at the open house is a tech help desk, including information on how to use a fundraising app, Hann said.

Participants can register for the Greencastle Relay For Life at www.relayforlife.org/pagreencastle, where sponsor sheets and luminaria forms can be found.

More information is available from Hann at 717-977-1145 or junohann@comcast.net

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Shawn Hardy is a reporter with Gannett's Franklin County newspapers in south-central Pennsylvania — the Echo Pilot in Greencastle, The Record Herald in Waynesboro and the Public Opinion in Chambersburg. She has more than 35 years of journalism experience. Reach her at shardy@gannett.com