by Eva Potter

As many as 20 teams and 200 participants from all over Cattaraugus County are scheduled to participate in this year’s the annual Relay for Life with an ambitious fundraising goal of $53,000 ($5,000 more than last year) for the American Cancer Society to support the fight against cancer.

You can show your enthusiastic support in the collective fight against cancer by dressing up your windows in a purple carnival theme — clowns, Ferris wheels, games, cotton candy — get creative! Be sure you call Crystal Page at (716) 341-4566 to register your window by Sunday evening, May 19. Judging will take place Monday, May 20. Winners will be acknowledged at the Relay for Life event.

This year’s event begins at noon on June 1 at the Ellicottville Central School track, located at Ellicottville central School is located at 5873 Route 219 in Ellicottville, and goes until midnight. Teams, families and spectators set up “camp” around the track for a 12-hour period.  Throughout the day and into the night, members of each team take turns walking or running around the track until they collectively complete the 9.6-mile course.

According to Page, the ACS director of Special Events for Cattaraugus County, the Ellicottville Relay for Life event has taken place for over 10 years thanks to the support of surrounding communities. Last year’s event raised more than $48,000.

This year, organizers are building “Carnival for Hope” theme around the event, with games and a bounce house to keep participants of all ages entertained. There will be a great chicken BBQ dinner available ($8 includes 1/2 chicken, three sides and a bottled water). In addition, Jacob North, AKA “DJ Excite,” will be on hand all day long providing music, and there will be a live band (to be announced) playing from 4–6 p.m.

Relay for Life Teams have been busy in their fundraising efforts holding parties, raffles and more. On May 26, at the opening of the Little Valley Speedway one group is holding a “Race for Relay” fundraiser.

The Honorary Survivor Speech and Opening Ceremony at noon, a heartwarming and moving event, will be followed by the Survivor’s Lap at approximately 12:20 p.m. During the Survivors Lap, all cancer survivors at the event take the first lap around the track, celebrating their victory over cancer. Relay for Life events also recognize and celebrate caregivers, who give their time, love, and support to friends, family, neighbors and coworkers facing cancer.

This year’s sponsors are Coffee Culture (gold sponsor), Ellicottville Volunteer Fire department, Great Valley Volunteer Fire Company and the Ellicottville Times (bronze sponsors).

Teams and volunteers are still needed in order to meet this year’s challenging fundraising goal. If you are interested in forming a team, joining an existing team, walking the Survivor Lap or donating to the cause, simply visit “Relay for Life of Cattaraugus County” at or call Crystal Page at (716) 341-4566 or email her at

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