Hundreds of community members gathered Friday night at Stevenson High School for that raises awareness and money to support the fight against cancer.
Members of team Chemosauraus Rex, who wore headbands with “rawr” printed on them, showed they were a force to be reckoned with. The 12-member team had raised more than $16,000 by Friday night, and was still going strong, bringing in additional dollars by selling tie-dyed T-shirts and ribbon-shaped chocolates to other Relay participants.
The team was led by Heather Kornick, 25, who has battled adrenal cancer for the past four years.
“It’s exciting. We just want to raise as much money as we can,” she said during a break from lapping the track. Kornick raised more than $3,700 for her team by contacting friends and relatives, promoting her efforts on Facebook and holding fundraisers for the cause.
“I’d have a goal and I’d have to reset it,” she said. “People’s generosity is really incredible. All you have to do is ask.”
“Relay has been an amazing experience,” she added. “I hope more people start participating to see how awesome it is for themselves.”
Kornick’s parents, Helen and Phil, voiced pride in their daughter for her positive attitude and her dedication to the cause.
“She’s always been someone who, when she decides something’s going to happen, there’s no stopping her,” Helen Kornick said.
Team Chemosauraus Rex member Logan Zinman has participated in Relay for Life for the past 10 years in honor of her father, who has repeatedly battled cancer. She raised more than $1,200 this year, surpassing her $1,000 goal. Zinman praised Kornick’s leadership, saying, “In 10 years, I’ve never raised this much or been so encouraged.”
Kornick was among a crowd of cancer survivors who kicked off the event by completing the first lap of the evening around ’s football field. Also among the survivors, who wore purple Relay for Life T-shirts, was first-time Relay for Life participant Geri Berg.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s a neat thing to see,” Berg said later, as she helped her teammates run a raffle and other fundraisers from their campsite alongside the track. “Now, just watching these different people walk around, I’m kind of biting at the bit to get out there.”
The event, which began at 7 p.m. Friday and concluded at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, was punctuated by speeches by Kornick, other participants and community leaders. Those who have battled cancer were honored during Relay’s signature luminaria ceremony.
“Every family that I know has been affected by same type of cancer,” Buffalo Grove Village President Jeff Braiman told the crowd. “You guys do make a difference. The money you raise makes a difference to those who have cancer.”
As of Friday, the 53 teams that supported the event had generated more than $73,000, and donations continued to be tallied from last-minute contributions and onsite fundraisers. Donations can still be made in support of a team or individual participant through the event’s website.