The Canal Winchester Times

Relay For Life

Teams will remember and celebrate loved ones

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More than 60 teams will participate in this weekend's Canal Winchester Relay For Life at the high school's Mike Locke Stadium, 300 Washington St.

The event begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 21, and will end at 7 a.m., Sunday, June 22, followed by a church service to close out the event.

Event organizer Melissa Weller said 425 participants are scheduled to "walk and run together to celebrate life, remember loved ones and help in the fight against this disease."

One of the teams was established in 2013 to honor Dr. John Bender, a longtime Canal Winchester City Council member and well-known coach who died last September.

Nicole Tennison, a recent graduate of Canal Winchester High School and former track and cross country runner who was coached by Bender, said that her team, Run for Bender, hopes to honor his legacy of community activism, commitment to athletics, faith and family. Last year's Relay For Life was the first year for the Run for Bender team, which took place shortly before he lost his battle with cancer.

"The team is mostly cross country runners and our parents," Tennison said. "Last year when we did this the first time, he showed up and it made us so happy to see him. So this year, we wanted to honor his memory and keep it going."

Another area team, the Village People, is once again walking and running to raise money in honor of Kris Sims, wife of Canal Winchester Construction Services Administrator Bill Sims.

Kris had been a Relay For Life organizer since 1993; she who lost her battle with cancer in 2012.

The Village People team is made up primarily of city staff and family.

"The Relay For Life and fundraising for cancer research were very important for Kris," Sims said. "She had been doing it since 1993, long before she had cancer herself."

Relay for Life events across Pennsylvania and Ohio raised a total of $34 million last year. Previous events in Canal Winchester have brought in more than $40,000, and Weller said she hopes to do that again this year.

It's not too late to register for the event or to donate to a team or individual participant. Tennison said she expects the Run for Bender team to double in size Saturday, with several people likely signing up just before the event.

"We've got nine team members currently and we expect even more to sign up on the day of the event," she said. "We'll probably end up with 20 or so people again this year."

For more information, registration or to make a donation, visit relayforlife.org.

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