By Jann Wiswall

With only three weeks to go until the annual Ellicottville Relay for Life event takes place on June 7, teams are gearing up for some advanced fundraising activities in their efforts to support the work of the American Cancer Society.


This Friday, May 16, the “Mariposa” team is holding its third annual BOCES 10K run/walk. Some 75 juniors and seniors in the BOCES criminal justice, medical assisting and early childhood education classes will be walking/running from the Ellicottville Central School all the way to the BOCES Ellicottville building on Route 242 East. In keeping with their studies, the Medical Assisting class will supervise the sports assistance tables, which are outfitted with blood pressure monitors to ensure the safety and health of all participants.

Last year, Mariposa team leader Michelle Steinbroner says that participating students raised more than $800 for the cause — many making donations from their own allowances or savings accounts. Of course, they’re hoping to beat that record this year.

Paint the Town Purple

This week, area businesses were asked to participate and show their support for the ECS Relay by decorating their storefronts for the “Paint the Town Purple” contest.

Area shop owners outdid themselves last year with gorgeous displays inside and out. Winners last year were Watson’s Chocolates in Ellicottville and Cattaraugus County Bank in Little Valley. Storefronts this year will be judged on June 4 and winners will be announced during the Relay for Life event on June 7.

Racing for Relay

Then, on opening night at the Little Valley Speedway (May 30), the “Walk This Way” relay team will be hosting “Racing for Relay.” This now-annual event asks racecar drivers from all over the region to purchase a $10 relay sticker for their cars. As an incentive, if they win their race, they win a cash bonus. The team also runs raffles, a “pass the helmet” fundraiser and more during the evening-long event that raised nearly $3,500 last year.

Walk this Way team co-leader Sherry Charlesworth says the team’s goal for 2014 is to raise $10,000.

Relay for Life, the world’s largest walk to end cancer, is a global fundraiser that honors cancer survivors, remembers loved ones lost and raises awareness about what we can do to stay well and prevent cancer. According to the ACS, more than 4 million people in some 20 countries raise as much as $400 million each year for the Relay for Life movement.

You can support any or all of these local efforts by logging on to and making a donation to the individual team of your choice or to the Ellicottville Relay for Life event as a whole. All teams are looking for members, sponsors or in-kind support, as well.

And be sure to attend the June 7 event. Crystal Page, ACS’s director of special events for Cattaraugus County, says some very special activities are being planned in honor of some very special friends who lost their battles with cancer this year.