The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 5, 2012

Pymatuning Valley's annual Mini Relay for Life a family fun event to benefit the Cancer Society

Staff Writer

ANDOVER — Pymatuning Valley School District takes on many ambitious events throughout the year, like the Wild Game Feed hosted by Pymatuning Valley’s chapter of the Future Farmers of America and the Chili Cook-off, but one of the biggest projects is in the spring - the PV Mini Relay for Life, which will take place on May 11. Chair of the event, Andrea Wonderling, expects big things during this third annual event. Last year the event raised $3,000 for the American Cancer Society 2011 Relay for Life in Ashtabula County. Wonderling has plans to do as well and hopefully better this year.

The mini-relay is a six hour event held on the high school track, weather permitting. At any given moment, at least one member of the team is up and walking the track. Relays for Life are longer events and are held all around the country, but the mini relay allows for younger people to participate in a supervised environment right in their home community.

Planning the Mini Relay for Life is a difficult task. Wonderling has to pick out T-shirt logos, find donations for door prizes, plan all the food and entertainment for the event, but most important is to recruit the teams which she is in the process of doing. To be a part of a PV Relay for Life Team you must make plans to attend the event on May 11. Once registered, teams collect donations in support of their team. In support of the Lakers for Life Relay Team, teams are expected to buy the mini relay T-shirt and wear it to the PV Mini Relay for Life. The fund-raising continues during the event as mini relay luminaries can be purchased and are lighted in honor, in support and in memory of loved ones and friends affected by cancer.

Many groups around the community participate in the event. Last year Pymatuning Valley High School had teams from organizations like PV Jazz Band, Future Farmers of America, National Honor Society, Student Council, Junior Class Cabinet, Athletic Boosters, PV High School Teachers, the Cheerleaders and the Cheer Boosters.

“The Mini Relay for Life is a great opportunity for local groups to come together, have a great time, all for a good cause,” said Lexis Cunningham, a member of the National Honor Society team. “Just make sure you bring your running shoes, cause it’s a workout.”

Also, the primary and the middle school each had a team representing them at the event. Community members play a crucial role with the success of the event with teams ranging from youth baseball teams to local Girl Scout troops.

In addition to the community providing donations for the event, many community members also take an active role in providing entertainment for the PV Mini Relay for Life. Andover Idol winners, such as Erica Pashley and Andrea Thompson, who also went on to win Cleveland Idol, performed at last year’s Mini Relay for Life. In addition to the local singers, PV’s signature Jazz Band will be performing at the event. Wonderling is always looking for more talent who would like to join in on the fun and help support the teams.

In addition to various musical acts, the Mini Relay for Life is family friendly. At the event, in the spirit of raising money for the cure, there will be sack races, hula hoop contests, and many other family friendly events. It is a great opportunity for families to spend time together and have a fun-filled evening.

Any questions can be directed to Andrea Wonderling at or (440)293-6263 during school hours. You can also register for PV’s team by going to Click on the View All in the Teams box on the right-hand side of the site. Then scroll the team list for Lakers for Life and click join team.

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