Relay for Life of Culver Steps off Friday

Kelly Cares Foundation donated $2,500 Wednesday to Culver Academies' Relay for Life. Pictured are Mike Wilcox, former Culver parent and Trustee, Paqui Kelly, and Kyle Blankenship, Relay Co-Chairman. Academies photo by Gary Mills

Walkers for the fourth annual Relay For Life of Culver will take their first steps toward a $130,000 goal at 7 p.m. Friday, April 15, at Culver Academies Oliver Field, located on at the intersection of Indiana 10 and 117.

The all-night event will feature Indianapolis Colts placekicker Adam Vinatieri for the second consecutive year. Vinatieri will speak at the survivor dinner preceding the Relay, attend the opening ceremony, and walk the first lap. New this year will be a fireworks show after dusk provided by Mad Bomber Fireworks Productions, according to Co-chairman Kyle Blankenship, a Crown Point, Ind., senior.

The Relay was the first in Indiana to be student-organized and has raised more than $350,000 since it began. This year 60 teams will be participating to raise funds for cancer research. Donations to the Relay For Life may be made online by clicking here.

Culver’s fund-raising effort was bolstered Wednesday by a $2,500 check from the Kelly Cares Foundation and its founders Brian and Paqui Kelly. Paqui Kelly is a two-time cancer survivor and the wife of the University of Notre Dame football coach.

In her remarks to students, Paqui Kelly stressed that she didn’t beat cancer by herself. It was a combination of family, friends, co-workers, community, and healthcare professionals. Teamwork and determination is what finishes the race, she said, whether it’s earning a diploma or walking all night for Relay For Life.

Relay For Life of Culver is a community event with participation representing the Academies, the town, and Marshall County. As in years past, Relay will include food, games, and live music, plus the usual events and commemorations, such as testimonials of local cancer survivors and the luminary lap in memory of cancer victims.

Relay For Life at the Academies was initiated in 2008 as a senior-service project and has since been carried out by a student-run committee comprised of eight subcommittees with over 100 student volunteers. Fair Oaks Farm in Demotte, Ind., is once again the lead event sponsor. Fair Oaks is owned and operated by Culver parents Michael and Sue McCloskey.