Mini Relay for Life event raises over $5,000

In only its second year, the South St. Marys Street Elementary Mini Relay for Life succeeded in raising nearly $5,600 for the American Cancer Society.Approximately 100 students participated in this year's mini relay, held in the school's gymnasium on Friday, Feb. 11."Our relay seems to get bigger each year. We have more students and families participating, which is wonderful to see. There has also been an increase in the money that we are donating to the American Cancer Society," said Mandy Assalone, SSMSE physical education teacher and event organizer. "I think that cancer affects so many in our area and this is a great way to bring people together, educate our youth, and support a great cause."As part of the event, which took place from 5:30 to 7 p.m., students and their families had the opportunity to participate in an array of activities ranging from walking laps around the gym, similar to how the county-wide Relay For Life event is set up, to making cards for cancer patients and decorating luminary bags for the main Relay.Youngsters were also kept busy at the various physical fitness stations, which included a hula hoop and jump-rope area, as well as a tumbling area overseen by two local gymnastic instructors.There were also stations set up where students learned about the dangers of tobacco, sun safety awareness and snacks and nutrition.Assalone has been assisted in planning the event by Susan Babik, American Cancer Society community income development specialist for the east central division, which includes Elk and Cameron counties.