Del Val to run its 4th annual Relay for Life


Mr. Gessner

From left to right: Jessica King, Savannah Granger, Amalia Crevani

Clare Erwin, The Delphi Editor

Del Val’s fourth annual Relay for Life, an all-night event which raises money for the American Cancer Society, will take place on May 3rd and 4th at the Hunterdon County Fairgrounds.

For the past two years, Del Val has merged with Hunterdon County’s relay at the Fairgrounds. Del Val’s Relay previously ran for two years at the Tap Webb Memorial Field before being relocated due to the growth of the event. Hunterdon Central High School will also be participating in the community-wide Relay once again.

The event began at Del Val when TSA member Jessica King and NHS members Amalia Crevani and Savannah Granger approached Tracey DePano, an American Cancer Society (ACS) Staff Partner, with the idea of hosting a Relay of Life event at Del Val. Savannah Granger had already participated in a Relay for Life event at Hunterdon Central High School, and she was excited to run a fundraiser for Del Val. The girls, along with TSA advisor Mr. Ryan Murphy and NHS advisors Dr. Caryn Bowe and Mr. James Gessner, held the first Relay in 2016. Both Savannah Granger and Jessica King continue to be a part of the Relay by joining leadership teams at their colleges.

Del Val’s Relay for Life club is open to anyone interested, whether you know someone who has been affected by cancer, have lost a loved one to the disease or simply wish to join the battle against cancer. Mr. Gessner, who runs the club, says that he’s witnessed the difference these events have made, particularly in the lives of students who have lost a parent to cancer.

Each team is responsible for creating its own fundraiser, such as Volley for Life, which was successfully hosted by Del Val twice in the past year in order to raise money for the ACS. There are currently 31 teams associated with the Hunterdon County event. If you would like to join Del Val’s team, Purple Power, contact Mr. Gessner at

Additionally, the ACS FUNdraising mobile app allows participants to view how much each team member has personally raised, how much each team has raised, and the total amount the fundraiser has raised. The app also promotes live donations, allowing the public to instantly donate money directly to an event or to an individual survivor.

It’s estimated that around 1,000 people will attend Hunterdon County’s Relay for Life this year, all of whom will be contributing to the event’s goal of reaching $50,000 in donations. So far, $26,480 have been raised, a number that continues to rise daily. With 12 days left until the event, it’s imperative that the numerous donations continue.

For those who participate in fundraising for Relay for Life, The Relay Awards program offers points for specific actions and amounts raised, which allows members to earn custom clothes, accessories, and technology, depending on the number of points totaled. It also informs participants of the impact of their donations. For example, participants can learn about the number of rides a cancer patient is given to and from treatment as a result of the fundraising or how many nights of free lodging they have provided to patients.

In addition to staff and student participation, there are between 50 to 60 local businesses supporting the Hunterdon County event by donating their proceeds and/or services.

Registration and set up for the event will begin at 4 PM on May 3rd, with a “Jazzercise” warm up at 5 PM and the opening and welcoming ceremonies (which includes guest speakers) beginning at 6. This presentation will be followed by the first laps, which will begin at 6:30. The cancer survivors will walk the first lap around the track with support and applause from the crowd; the caregivers will begin on the second, and the the third lap will then be open to everyone. Different, playful themes will accompany each lap, such as the “Bubble lap” and the “Yo-Yo” lap. To represent the idea that cancer never sleeps, the goal of each team is to have at least one representative walking the track at all times.

At 7, a dinner for the survivors will take place with food provided by the Chimney Rock Inn and The Fudge Shoppe. Ice cream from Thee Ice Cream Parlor will also be available throughout the course of the night.

At this time, performances by musicians Miles Hudgins and Kiley Baxter will begin, followed by Del Val’s Vox Blue choir at 8:15, and musical guests Don and Jesse Lopez at 1:00 AM. Additionally, music will be supplied by DJ Aiden Fernandez and the HCRHS Madrigal Girls chorus.

The Luminaria Ceremony, which symbolizes the remembrance of the lives lost to cancer, as well lives of those who have survived, will begin at 9 PM. At this time, thousands of paper bags placed around the track, lit up by a candle in the darkness, each representing an individual. Donations are $10 per bag and should be made out to the American Cancer Society.

At 10 PM, following the Luminaria Ceremony, there will be an awards ceremony for the those who’ve raised significant amounts of money for the fundraiser. The Empowerment Hour at 10:30 will serve as an incentive for all to continue to contribute to the search for a cure, both personally and politically.

Other activities throughout the night include horse and pony rides (made possible by Black Fox Farms, located in Pennington, NJ) from 7 to 9, and Zumba with Jeane Franco and Lauren Apgar at 12 AM, to name a few. Yoga, karaoke and lip synching will be included as well, along with a scavenger hunt and volleyball tournament. Teams are also encouraged to host their own activities at their campsites. This year’s theme, “Wish Upon a Cure,” will come to life with a visit from the Northeast Remnant of the 501st Legion, in Star Wars costumes and activities such as Disney Trivia and “Find the Mickeys.”

Relay for Life will close at 6 AM on May 4th with a breakfast the next morning offered at Chick-Fil-A, which has generously donated coupons to participants. “This is about the cancer survivors, and caring for the cancer survivors, supporting the cancer survivors, and celebrating their lives,” says Mr. Gessner.

Please join the community on May 3-4th at the Hunterdon County Fairgrounds to participate in Relay for Life, a remarkable event that remembers those who we have lost to cancer, honors those who have survived their battles and works to save future lives. For more details about the American Cancer Society and Hunterdon County’s 2019 Relay for Life, visit

For more on Miles Hudgins, visit:
For more on Kiley Baxter, visit:
For more on Don and Jesse Lopez, visit:
For more on Aiden Fernandez, visit:
For more on the 501st Legion, visit: