SHAMOKIN - With a positive attitude and a change in leadership, volunteers hope to revitalize an area fundraiser in the fight against cancer.

Committees from Shamokin and Mount Carmel have joined forces to create the Relay For Life of The Coal Region, set for June 13 and 14 at Kemp Memorial Stadium, Coal Township.

Event co-chairs Joseph Phillips and Heather Fernandez hope the combined effort will bring a sense of unity to the community to help out a common cause.

"Over the years, we've both seen our numbers of volunteers just dwindling," Phillips said. "In Shamokin, we had a core group of six people running the event and Heather was doing the same."

"We were in Town Park last year and doing all right, but it wasn't like it was in the past," Fernandez said. "We hope we can bring it back to a better time."

The Relay for Life is a 24-hour event in which teams camp out and walk laps in support of the fight against cancer. Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track or pathway at all times.

In the past, separate events were held at Southern Columbia, Shamokin, Mount Carmel and Line Mountain High School, but interest in the event has lapsed and totals decreased. Line Mountain dropped the event altogether due to lack of participation.

Funds raised will help the American Cancer Society in its fight against cancer and present awareness to several programs, including:

- Road to Recovery - provides rides to and from cancer treatments.

- Reach to Recovery - uses cancer survivors to help counsel patients and their families.

- Look Good, Feel Better - helps women cancer patients improve their appearance and self image by managing the appearance side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

A goal of $45,800 and 25 teams has been set for this year's relay. So far, 13 teams have pre-registered.

The event starts 3 p.m. June 13 with the opening/survivor lap starting at 6 p.m.

There will be a moving luminaria service the evening of June 13 and a butterfly release at 9:30 a.m. June 14.

The Bark for Life event, which is pet-friendly, is set for Saturday, June 21, at the Mount Carmel Town Park.

"We are calling people, not only from Shamokin and Mount Carmel, but all the surrounding areas - Atlas, Trevorton, the Line Mountain area, Ranshaw, Kulpmont, Paxinos - anywhere. Come be a part of the relay, get involved and have a great time with us," Phillips said.

The next meeting of the committee will be held at 6 p.m. Monday. Feb. 17 at the Brady Fire Company. Anyone interested in volunteering may attend or contact the event chairs at

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