Faith might move mountains, but hope moves concrete.
The Cortland Relay For Life is set for this weekend, and team Heather's Hope is setting up a restaurant in their tent to raise money for cancer research. The project involves moving 4,000 pounds of concrete to Lakeview High School's track area.
Why so much effort?
"Because it will be cute," team captain Heather Kish said simply, adding that there will be tables and chairs and customers will be seated and waited upon. "We're kinda takin' it back and makin' it retro."
The team will offer "Hope Floats" - red pop with vanilla ice cream - root beer floats, hamburgers, hot dogs, meatball splashes and possibly french fries.
Kish, 38, of Howland, became involved with the Relay For Life because she is a survivor. At 35, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a radical mastectomy. She said her husband and three children, ages 17, 15 and 9, look forward to the event every year. Her brother and sisters-in-law get involved, along with a lot of people from the health care center in Warren, where she works as a nurse.
WHAT: Cortland Relay For Life
WHEN: 6 p.m. June 4 to
6 p.m. June 5
WHERE: Lakeview High School,
300 Hillman Drive, Cortland
The team will sell shirts with Heather's Hope on the front, the tilted letter E's colored pink for breast cancer awareness, along with the words "planting the seed of hope."
Kish said her team is faith-based. On the back of the shirt is the Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
"I believe if God brings you to it, he'll bring you through it," Kish said.
Her team joined the Cortland Relay just last year. They had one month to get it together but still raised $1,800, most of it on site.
"My team's pretty 'woo-hoo,'" Kish said.
Also going with the food theme with a cafe this year is the team from Pediatric Care Associates.
Peggy Selby, captain, said their theme will be "Flag Down a Cure." Their tent will feature Italian food and will be decorated with Italian and American flags.
The team's tent won survivors' choice award last year with its movie theme and projector.
To raise money, Selby said the team always has something being raffled - even appliances. They've had a party at the Cortland Roller Rink, a bake sale at Sam's Club and earned a portion of sales from CiCi's Pizza.
On the office counter are handmade beaded bracelets that sell for a buck. A dollar here and a dollar there added up to $1,200 on bracelets alone for one year.
"Even with the economy the way it is, people are so generous," Selby said.
The team includes two survivors: Selby, who will mark five years cancer-free in September, and Jan Rice, a "double-time survivor."
Team member Rhonda Schrecengost of Mecca said she stays at Relay for the duration of the 24-hour event, and her daughter and grandchildren come from Pittsburgh to walk. Her father and father-in-law are cancer survivors.
Schrecengost said nearly everyone in the office has been affected by cancer with friends and family.
"One in three will probably get it," she said.
The two said they see children "too many times" who have cancer, as well.
"That's always tragic when it's a child," Schrecengost said, "but a lot of them survive now."
While team member Anne Varley was nearby trying to figure out how to make stars show up on a blue background for a banner, Shrecengost and Selby said they know a lot of the other teams at the Cortland Relay and go from tent to tent to support them.
They also enjoy a few friendly challenges. Last year, the team lost a fundraising challenge so they walked the track in their underwear (on top of clothing). They walk laps backwards and steal each other's flags.
Looking at pictures from 2009, Selby said, "It was fun. Exhausting, but fun."
Mona Binben, a leader and member of the Tri-Chairs, carries with her a contagious excitement for the Cortland Relay For Life.
"We will hit a million this year. I can guarantee it," she said.