Relay for Life planned for Saturday, Sunday at Al Quaal

MARQUETTE – Don Fassbender’s new Relay for Life team chose the name A Cup Half Full.

“It seemed to be inspirational in its meaning and inflection,” Fassbender said. “It’s what we feel. We hope to make a difference by being part of relay.”

Marquette County Relay for Life begins with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming.

Fassbender gives credit to the team he was part of in 2012 for being a great mentor in putting his own group together for this year.

“Yooper Troopers was the former team we branched off from. Diane Stacey from Yooper Troopers is a great team captain,” he said.

In fact, Yooper Troopers and A Half Cup Full united this past Sunday to throw a fundraiser for Relay for Life. The special evening of music took place at the Ore Dock Brewery in Marquette.

“That was a lot of fun,” Fassbender said.

His reason for becoming involved in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is the same as for many people: cancer has touched his life.

“Cancer took my father seven years ago,” Fassbender said.

A Cup Half Full has seven members, all of whom are working toward securing as many donations as possible, just like everyone else involved in the relay.

Today is “Bank Day” for the relay, said Carl Fulsher, the area’s community representative for the American Cancer Society. A record 40 teams have signed up to participate this year.

“We’ll know our status then as to what has been pledged to that point,” Fulsher said. “But the teams will be taking pledges right up to the end of the relay.

“We’ve been close to the $100,000 mark in the past and we’re hoping we’ll get there this year,” he said.

This is the second year the relay has taken place over a Saturday-Sunday after many years of being a Friday-Saturday event.

“Last year we did Saturday-Sunday but we also did a cancer study,” Fulsher said. “This year, we will have a lot more Saturday to work with. We want to give Saturday-Sunday a fair shot.”

Fulsher said as always, he’s impressed by the hard work of those volunteering for relay.

“It’s inspiring to see what people do for this,” he said.

The public can still get involved in relay, including by purchasing a luminaria – the special light-up tributes to loved ones who have been touched by cancer. Luminaria are sold in advance, but also can be purchased on site before the luminaria ceremony which is at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

Tammy Revord is this year’s survivor speaker. The survivor ceremony begins at 7 p.m., with Revord leading the survivor’s lap at 7:30 p.m.

The Blue Notes Drum and Bugle Corps will provide music from 5 to 6 p.m. Saturday, as well.

For more information about luminaria or other aspects of relay, call Debbie Aro at 225-4545 or email her at

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.