Glenwood Middle School LEO Club adviser Principal Dave Brown, left, presents a Glenwood Lions Club donation check to Yvette Hess, scheduling/office manager for Bikes for the World as Lions Club members Larry Orwig, Al Severn and Mike Lay look on. (Submitted photo / May 24, 2012)

Over the past few months I have been sharing news of preparations for the annual Relay For Life of Western Howard County. It seems that the event is now just right around the corner and the community is invited to participate in this free, fun-filled overnight event designed to celebrate cancer survivorship and raise money for the American Cancer Society.

This year's Relay for Life event will take place on June 8 at the Western Regional Park in Glenwood, with opening ceremonies beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The event will feature a survivors' lap, a luminary ceremony, a kids' walk and silent auction. In addition, there will be a free survivors' reception at 5 p.m. immediately prior to opening ceremonies. The survivors' reception is open only to cancer survivors and their caregivers.

Registration before the reception is requested. Register at http://www.relayforlife.org/westernhoward.


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Teams raise money before and during the event through donations or fundraising activities. At the event, teams camp out and take turns walking around a track, with each team trying to keep at least one member on the track throughout the night. Relay participants keep this overnight vigil because "cancer never sleeps."

In 2011, Western Howard County Relay raised more than $100,000. There are currently 21 teams, with 260 participants registered for the 2012 event, and fundraising is on track for another successful event.

There is one last planning meeting prior to the event, on June 5, at 7 p.m. at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center. Volunteers are always welcome. Email claudia.klahre@cancer.org or call 410-781-4316 for more information about Relay For Life of Western Howard County event.

Members of the Glenwood Middle School LEO Club gathered one recent Saturday morning for a Bike Drive to benefit Bikes for the World. Students, with the help of Principal David Brown and Glenwood Lions Club volunteers Larry Orwig, Al Severn, Mike Lay and Harrison Morson, collected old and unused bikes to be refurbished and provided to less fortunate people around the world. Yvette Hess, scheduling manager for Bikes for the World was also on hand to assist with loading the donated bikes.

Fifty-two bikes were collected, along with $210 in donations ($200 from the Glenwood Lions Club).

The bikes collected in Glenwood would be matched with other pickups in the Washington area and were scheduled for shipment to Ghana, West Africa. On average, the Bikes for the World organization has been collecting 10,000 bikes a year in the Washington, Maryland and Virginia region.

Sponsored in 2005 by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, a 501-C-3 charitable, non-profit organization, the project has collected and donated more than 40,000 bikes to non-profit partners overseas, where transportation can be a major issue in the transformation of lives, molding civility and managing the environment.

The LEO Club students appreciate the community donations and support to help make this another successful bike drive.

On June 2, beginning at 7:30 p.m. there will be a Reflections of Grace Ceremony at Western Regional Park in Glenwood. All are welcome to join the McComas Family as they remember and celebrate the life of Grace McComas. Attendees are encouraged to wear blue. Because of the expected high turnout, it is encouraged that people carpool to the event. In case of inclement weather, the event will be moved indoors to the Gary J. Arthur Community Center. Please R.S.V.P. to reflectionsofgrace109@gmail.com if you plan to attend this event.

The McComas Family has set up a memorial fund in Grace's name. All funds collected will go to groups/projects/organizations that represent Grace's life-affirming spirit. Some possibilities include a scholarship through the schools, youth groups in the church, beautification projects for the community, or anything that would pay tribute to a beautiful and kind-hearted child who died too soon.

Checks should be made payable to the "Grace McComas Memorial Fund" and can be mailed to Glenelg High School at 14025 Burntwoods Road, Glenelg, MD 21737. Mark Grace McComas Memorial Fund on the envelope.