Dan Pflug will be the speaker at the Feb. 5 Relay for Life kickoff event. He is shown last March with his wife Amy, and their daughters, Madison (center) and Sydney. In Dec. 2011, Madison was diagnosed the second time with T-cell lymphoma and a bone marro
For the 20th year, White Lake Area residents will bring awareness and raise funds for the battle against cancer through the American Cancer Society Relay for Life event.
The kickoff event for the fundraising push will be held Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Algot Johnson American Legion Post 69 in Whitehall.
And, the theme of this year’s White Lake Area Relay for Life is “Relay Family Reunion - 20 years of Fighting.”
The kickoff program will begin at 6 p.m., and will include information materials for fundraising teams, and persons interested in joining the effort., guests speakers and refreshments.
Hamburgers will be available for sale through the American Legion’s hamburger night, and other free refreshments - cupcakes, chips and bottled water - will be offered.
In keeping with the event’s theme, Dan Pflug will speak about his family’s second battle with cancer this past year.
“He will talk about his family’s journey,” said Bonnie Koehler, the Relay for Life Committee chair.
Dan and Amy Pflug’s nine-year-old daughter, Madison, was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma for the second time in her young life in Dec. 2011 and the past year has been filled with preparations for a bone marrow transplant which failed in July, and a recovery period in which Madison’s own bone marrow has regenerated. She continues to be cancer free, but regularly is tested. The Pflug’s have a younger daughter, Sydney.
In a recent CarePages message posted by Amy Pflug, she wrote, “No medical news to share. Just felt like saying that it was one year ago today that we received the hard news that Maddie’s cancer had returned. Today we have been talking about what that felt like and what all has happened in the past year. I am grateful for the mercies given on such a tough path. The journey isn’t over, but it was worth pausing today to see where we’ve come after taking one day at a time. It has nearly been seven years since Maddie’s cancer first appeared. Looking at it one way, I am brokenhearted that my baby’s had to deal with something like this. Looking at it another way, I am so grateful for all these years and events she’s lived past that initial diagnosis and last year’s relapse.
“We are proud of Maddie and how she’s handled the past year with laughter and optimism. We are thankful for you loving supporters who’ve helped hold us up. Maddie is currently feeling well and is joining a kids’ karate class next week. She made it far enough past post-transplant precautions that she could receive a long-awaited canary bird from Grandpa and Grandma L. as a celebration pet. Finally, she would like me to share that his name is “Tipper”, because of how he tips off his perch to dive to the floor of his cage.
Also someone will speak on the ACS CAN membership and goals.
In keeping with the family reunion theme, the legion hall will be decorated with a pop-up tent, a family reunion banner, lawn chairs, a grill, and coolers fill with bottled water.
Kickoff visitors will put their name on a paper leaf which will be added to a family tree.
Koehler said this year the team captain information will be packaged together and available at one table.
The Relay for Life 24-hour event will be held May 18-19 at Montague’s Townsend Athletic Complex, but Koehler said the fundraising is a year-around effort.
Currently, she is selling coupon books for the Yonkers Community Days at The Lakes Mall. Each book sold earns Relay for Life $5.
Koehler will do the 5K Walk in the 5th/3rd Riverbank Run and Walk in Grand Rapids, and is looking for sponsors as a fundraiser. Angie Bush from the B-Bopper Relay for Life team will run in the Riverbank event.
Other fundraisers will include yard sales, dinners, McDonald’s Educator Night, donation canisters and other individual team activities.
The American Legion Riders relay team is planning a Hot Pork Sandwich Dinner on March 14, 5-7 p.m. and a Flea Market on March 9, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both events will be at American Legion Post 69.
Koehler said this year’s fundraising goal is $58,000, and currently there are 12 teams registered. The event’s goal is for 20 teams.
The local relay also has a goal of signing up 20 members and $250 for the ACS CAN fight back challenge.