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Organizers already building up to Oak Forest ‘Relay for Life’

Tony Kubilius (left) serves guests during chili cook-off fundraising kick-off event Oak Forest High School for city's annual Relay for

Tony Kubilius (left) serves guests during a chili cook-off and fundraising kick-off event at Oak Forest High School for the city's annual Relay for Life Saturday, January 12, 2013. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 26, 2013 6:01AM



It may be five months away, but Oak Forest already is thinking about its “Relay for Life.”

The annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society got off to a rousing start recently with a chili cookoff at Oak Forest High School.

“It’s our kickoff tailgate party. We do it every year to raise awareness,” chairwoman Val Shalati said.

The rules were simple: Prepare your best chili recipe and bring it to the high school cafeteria.

It’s more than just eating chili. It’s also a way to drum up support for the relay.

“It’s pretty much an open house for everyone to hear what we are all about and to see if we can get some teams signed up for the relay,” Shalati said.

There was no entrance fee. All one had to do was make some chili and show up at the Jan. 12 event.

Three people showed up with this chili this year, and Kurt Avendroth, of Oak Forest, was judged to have the best, Shalati said.

The contest was free to enter and, even better, it cost nothing to enjoy samples.

Sixty people showed up to sample the chili and most of them expressed interest in the relay, Shalati said.

“Relay for Life” participants will walk in Central Park in Oak Forest for 12 hours to raise money for the fight against cancer. People form teams and at least one person from each team is walking during the 12-hour span.

This year, the relay will be held from 6 p.m. June 21 to 6 a.m. June 22.

“Someone from each team is walking at all times. We had about 350 participants and about 35 teams or so last year. All of it is to raise money to fight cancer,” Shalati said.

For more information, visit www.relayforlife.org/oakforestil.



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