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For 18 hours, walkers will race toward a cure

Crystal River hosts its own Relay For Life fundraiser in which teams will walk the track of the high school football stadium for 18 hours straight.


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 18, 2001

An 18-hour walk-a-thon fundraiser for the local American Cancer Society begins at 6 p.m. today at Crystal River High football stadium.

The Relay For Life is the second walk-a-thon event held in Citrus County in the past month. The original Relay For Life started five years ago and was held last month at Citrus High football stadium in Inverness, where about $66,000 was raised.

Now, Crystal River wants to have a Relay For Life of its own. Tonight's relay will feature 15 teams, with a goal of $15,000, said Bryn Warner, executive director of the Pasco, Hernando and Citrus units of the American Cancer Society.

"We feel that we're doing really well for a first-year event," Warner said.

The relay gets started at 6 p.m. tonight with opening ceremonies, which will include speeches by local dignitaries and a demonstration by the Crystal River High ROTC color guard. Then about 100 cancer survivors will take the first lap, known as the "Victory Lap".

Then the teams of walkers will begin the walk-a-thon, which requires that at least one team member be walking around the track at all times. The Seven Rivers Community Hospital team has about 80 members.

To keep the walkers' spirits up, there is plenty of entertainment. Tonight's schedule features Cher impersonator Sally Langlois at 7; singer Jose Masaoy at 7:30; singer Betsy Wentworth at 8; and Sally Langlois, this time impersonating Marilyn Monroe, at 8:30 p.m.

A luminaria lighting takes place at 9 p.m. today, followed by a disc jockey playing dance music. A pie-eating contest will be held later in the night.

Saturday's events include a sleeping bag sack race at 2 a.m., karaoke through the night and a wake-up aerobics demonstration at 6 a.m. and performances from Ronnie's Dance Academy and the Rainbow Squares.

Closing ceremonies begin at noon Saturday.

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