FARMINGTON — Gilligan and the Skipper, too, gathered for a team lap to start off the 2015 Franklin County Relay For Life held Saturday at Farmington Fairgrounds.

Television favorites set the stage for the Relay. “Gilligan’s Island,” “Happy Days,” “The Brady Bunch” and “The Adams Family” were remembered as the theme this year is “TV Land,” Mac Watts, Relay manager for the American Cancer Society, said.

The Relay was dedicated to Phillips Middle School student Taylor Lane who is fighting a rare form of lymphoma. “She’s doing well and is here walking today,” Paula Roy Kane, teacher and chaperone of the MAPS Brigade, said.

The Phillips Middle School Student Council Team has participated in the Relay for about nine years, she said. MAPS stands for Madrid, Avon, Phillips and Salem. There were seven students and three parent chaperones this year.

Council President Alana Maher planned to introduce Lane at the dedication and walk for a while before the two headed home to attend their eighth-grade semi-formal dance, Roy said.

Normally a Friday, overnight event, this year, the Relay switched to a Saturday from 3 p.m. to midnight, Watts said. This was the first community to hold the Saturday event. Others across the state are also switching, but most are held in June.

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There were 114 participants in the event and 13 teams, but the numbers were down, Watts said. Normally there are a couple hundred people and up to 20 teams. The anticipated funds raised were also expected to be down by 25 percent from last year, he added.

“The overnight was a struggle for some,” he said. “Across the state events are changing. Only three stayed with the overnight Relay, the rest have gone to day events.”

Organizers thought ending at midnight would give more participants a chance to enjoy the whole event, he said.

Volunteers from Farmington, Jay, Wayne and around the county once again worked for months to prepare for the event. 

Watts said they would try to poll teams to see how they liked the new format and hold a debriefing this summer to discuss the change and Relay, he added.

Bonnie Paskell of the Friends for the Fight team wasn’t sure she liked the change. It wasn’t going to give her time enough to do all the things they’ve done overnight for the past six years.

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The 11-member family team formed in memory of Linwood Hinkley, who passed away from thyroid cancer, she said. There are also 11 members of the family who have the same gene for this cancer, who might also be ill if they had not been tested and treated.

Teams from Kyes Insurance, Franklin Savings Bank, Barclays and Party Lights also participated.

A variety of theme laps, including a survivor lap and a luminaria ceremony, were planned.

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