By Sue Botos
As Mayor Pam Bobst told those gathered for the kickoff of the 2013 Rocky River Relay For Life, Captain America may have closed down the shoreway for the filming of a movie, but the real superheroes were present for the event, which carried on despite high winds and and a nighttime downpour.
The relay, with its superheroes theme, took place at Rocky River Middle School and attracted dozens of teams, whose members took turns walking the track, between 1 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday, to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Heather Brown, Dana Zindowski and Jennifer Franzki were part of Team Evelyn, which honored Brown’s 2-year-old niece Evelyn, who is battling the disease. The popular “Manburger” team of Rocky River High School students offered their traditional concession stand plus “five push-ups for a dollar.”
Food games and entertainment were offered for walkers and those cheering them on. Massages were even available.
Navy veteran Michele Wisniewski performed an a cappella version of “The Star Spangled Banner” before the opening remarks and the “victory lap,” during which cancer survivors circled the track. “I was a little emotional because I dedicated it (the anthem) to my dad,” said Wisniewski, whose father, also a Navy veteran, lost his battle with cancer in 2001.
Bobst announced that some funds had already been raised before the event, including $800 from Goldwood Primary School students from their “Relay Recess” games, and $250 from a Kensington Intermediate School student who made and sold bracelets. The high school “Manburger” team also raised $3,000 and the “Prom Fashion Show” netted $2,000.
Rocky River High School graduate Holly Sanja, relay coordinator, thanked volunteers for all of their work in putting the event together. The event, which is usually held at the high school, had to be moved this year due to construction. Sanja said the event holds personal meaning for her because her grandfather died from cancer when Sanja was 4 years old. “I relay for my grandpa every day,” she stated.