What: Relay For Life of Williamsport.
WHEN: 4 p.m. May 17 to 4 p.m. May 18.
WheRE: Williamsport Area High School track.
Above left is a banner displayed at the 2012 Relay For Life of Williamsport. The banner was held by a large crane in support of Gene Baier, who was an employee of Allison Crane and Rigging. Co-workers formed Baier’s Brigade Relay For Life team during his battle with cancer. Above right are the winning “Miss Relay” contestants from Baier’s Brigade. The “ladies” were the winners of the 2012 Miss Relay contest. From left are Dale Bonnell, Trevor Reedy, Larry Allison Sr. and Bob Landerer.
What do you do when you find out a friend or family member is battling cancer? Do you feel like you want to help, but don't know how? Last year, employees at Allison Crane and Rigging wanted to rally around their co-worker and friend, Gene Baier, to support him with his fight against the disease and the Baier's Brigade Relay For Life team was formed.
Many Relay teams fundraise for the event all year long, putting in many hours of work contacting donors and planning team fundraisers - Baier's Brigade didn't have that extra time, coming together only three weeks before the 2012 Relay For Life of Williamsport event last May.
Employees at Allison Crane and Rigging were so touched by Baier's cancer battle that they wanted to do something in support of him and others in his position.
In those three short weeks leading up to the Relay event, the team was able to raise an amazing total of more than $8,000 - a total that many established teams who fundraise 12 months a year can struggle to obtain.
Allison Crane and Rigging also matched the $8,000 that was raised in further support of the cause.
"Our co-worker and friend Gene Baier was battling cancer at the time and we heard about the event and decided to make a team and see what all we could do in such a short amount of time," said Dana Slocum, team captain. "We were amazed at the outpouring of support and donations in support of Gene. It was absolutely incredible to see our company come together the way they did."
Last year's team consisted of 11 members but also had a number of other supporters including other co-workers, friends and family members, who helped out and came to walk with the team at the event.
Baier's Brigade also had another victory at the Relay event last year when their two "Miss Relay" contestants won over the judges and the crowd and were crowned "Miss Relay 2012."
The Miss Relay competition asks teams to enter a male contestant to dress in "drag" (as a woman) and share a talent during the Miss Relay contest at the Relay event to raise more money for their team. Trevor Reedy and Bob Landerer were the team's contestants with the help of Dale Bonnell.
Many teams have to beg for a Miss Relay contestant, but this team showed their true dedication with three team members stepping up and taking the crown.
This year, Slocum said the "girls" will be handing the crown over to the new winners and will most likely have some new faces representing their team in the contest this year.
"As a team co-captain for the Baier's Brigade, the experience of Relay For Life was gratifying and rewarding knowing that as a team we were helping a friend and co-worker to find a cure for cancer by raising money for the American Cancer Society," said Teresa Sick, team co-captain.
The heart that the team showed truly was inspiring to all other teams and attendees at the Relay event last year. Knowing their support of Baier and the tremendous amount of fundraising they did in such a short period of time showed their full dedication to the cause. They even had a crane present at the event displaying a banner that read "Baier's Brigade in support of Gene Baier."
"I had never participated before in an American Cancer Society event and I decided it was time for me to give back and show my support for a great cause," Slocum said. "Many of us have lost family members to cancer and have family members who had cancer and beat it. It's a horrible disease that affects so many lives. It was truly an amazing experience to see everyone come together for such a great fundraiser."
The now second-year team is ready for the event, which will be held from 4 p.m. May 17 to 4 p.m. May 18 at the Williamsport Area High School Stadium. They have been raising money and plan to sell Jamaican pulled jerk chicken sandwiches at the event.
Slocum said their team plans to continue to support the American Cancer Society by participating in the Relay event for years to come.
"We were honored and humbled by the tremendous support shown at last year's event and hope to do it again this year," Slocum said.
In loving memory of Gene Baier.