It’s time to turn Washington County into a “Sea of Purple”.
Purple ribbons are now for sale throughout the county – they can be purchased for $10 each and bear the name of your loved one – a survivor or someone claimed by cancer.
Names and numbers for Washington County Relay For Life representatives in towns throughout the county can be found at the bottom of this article.
If you don’t see someone for your town, call Shirley Smelter at (618) 318-1867, and she can put you in touch with the right person or can get you a ribbon herself.
I’ve volunteered for the American Cancer Society since 1997. It was the year after Emilie was diagnosed and I wanted to give back. Back then, there was no internet so I relied on word of mouth to find the charity that worked best for us. I narrowed it down to the Leukemia Society and the American Cancer Society. Since Relay for Life was new, it was the right fit.
It was here in town (the Leukemia Society then did an annual walk in Forest Park in St. Louis), I could invite our family to join us and it was a great way to celebrate all that Emilie had been through.
That first year, we had over 30 people come out to support our brave, sweet cancer survivor.
My mom started Emilie’s Eliminators.
We fundraised with a pork burger BBQ at Diedrich’s that grew from making $200 the first few years to ending around the $4k mark!
I took over the team from Mom a year or so after we started, and now each year we change team captains.
This year it’s Grace’s turn.
She grew up ‘getting’ Relay so it’s a good fit.
I was talked into being a team mentor a few years later.
I admit it, it was an easy sell! All I had to do was contact the team captains and ask them how things were going, what they were working on, offer suggestions and give them any support they needed.
I liked helping and it was a good fit.
A few years later, the planning committee realized the businesses in town were being bombarded with charity requests (by teams and individuals) so we started a sponsorship committee to offer sponsorships to area businesses.
In exchange for a donation or in-kind donation, we’d give them tax paperwork for their donation and make sure that they were listed on any literature used for advertising.
It grew from a few thousand dollars to over $15k last year.
Sponsorship now includes Taste of Hope – and what a great idea that’s become. I did it for a few years; I liked helping and it was a good fit.
I graduated to Event Chair after a few years of cutting my teeth with the other committees.
Shirley Smelter and I did it together (those that Relay together, stay together, right?!) and it was a hectic, crazy, intense two years that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
We had super wacko weather at the Nashville Park and other obstacles that almost broke us that we laugh about today.
I liked helping (and I’m a bit bossy 🙂 ) and it was a good fit.
Where am I going with this?
Your perfect fit is here at Relay for Life. Day-of logistics, entertainment, sponsorship, team captain, team member, luminaria, putting up and taking down Paint the Town Purple bows, publicity, cake baker, set-up, clean-up – there’s no shortage of places to help. And it’s not too late.
Reach out to me on Facebook.
Email me at [email protected].
Text me (618) 791-8214.
I’d love to talk with you about my passion.
Everyone eventually reaches their shelf life on volunteering, and stepping back allows someone else to step up.
Won’t you step up to Relay for Life?
– Rebecca Ruehl
Relay for Life is Friday, May 11 at Okawville Park
Paint The County Purple
Order a purple bow from Darlene Ostendorf at 424-7779 for $10 and it will be displayed in Addieville one week prior to the Relay.
Order a purple bow from Denise Evans at F&M Bank, Ashley at 485-1283 for $10 and it will be displayed in Ashley one week prior to the Relay.
Order a purple bow from Laura Ryterski at F&M Bank, DuBois, at 787-8261 for $10 and it will be displayed in DuBois one week prior to the Relay.
Order a purple bow from Denise Harris, at F&M Bank, Hoyleton, at 493-7766, for $10 and it will be displayed in Hoyleton one week prior to the Relay.
Order a purple bow from Jamie, at Oakdale State Bank, at329-5221 for $10 and it will be displayed in Oakdale one week prior to the Relay.
Order a purple bow from Donna Rabenort at Reichmann Brothers, at 521-0561, for $10 and it will be displayed in Okawville one week prior to the Relay.
Order a purple bow from Shirley Smelter, at 318-1867, for $10 and it will be displayed in Posen one week prior to the Relay (Mrs. Smelter can also be contacted with other questions about PAINTING THE COUNTY PURPLE).
Order a purple bow from Anita Jurkowski at 246-8208 for $10 and it will be displayed in Radom one week prior to the Relay.
Order a purple bow from Melody Turner at 314-0684 for $10 and it will be displayed in Richview one week prior to the Relay.
Order a purple bow from Lori Segelhorst at Seg’s Place at 314-3433 for $10 and it will be displayed in Venedy one week prior to the Relay.