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Hearty shoppers turn out for Relay for Life Garage Sale in Western Springs

John Reineke of LaGrange Park helps Matt Mardick as he looks through a selection of records during Lyons Township's Relay for Life garage sale. | Steve Johnston/For Sun-Times Media
Sebastian Mireles of Western Springs checks out an ice cream maker for sale during Lyons Township's Relay for Life garage sale. | Steve Johnston/For Sun-Times Media
Sylvia Sherlag  looks over a table of items for sale at Lyons Township High School's Relay for Life garage sale. | Steve Johnston/For Sun-Times Media
Laurie McAndrews helps organize one of the tables during Lyons Township's Relay for Life garage sale. | Steve Johnston/For Sun-Times Media

Practically everything under the sun was for sale at Lyons Township High School’s Relay for Life Garage Sale Jan. 10 and 11 in Western Springs.

And the price was right with most items 25 cents to $1, said faculty advisers Tim Spitsberg and Brittany Sidoti.

But severe winter weather hindered donations and shoppers, Spitsberg said. Final tallies aren’t yet in, but proceeds are likely to total $4,000 to $5,000, compared with about $9,000 a year ago.

“Considering we missed two days of donations due to the winter storms and that Friday night was a frozen, black-icy mess with very low attendance compared to earlier years, we’re pretty pleased with that total and for the support of our community, literally come rain or storm,” he said.

Despite the dent in donated items, there were many interesting finds to choose form, Spitsberg said.

“One of the items our volunteers had the most fun with was a pair of glasses designed with rectangular lenses so that you could see in them a reflection of what was directly behind you,” he recalled. “A pair of Razor scooters also got in quite a bit of work as student volunteer transportation across the large space of the Corral before they got sold.”

More than 25 students helped with advertising, accepting and sorting donations and volunteering the days of the sale.

“If we count community and staff members, we have more than 50 volunteers,” Spitsberg said. “It is truly a labor of love for all those involved, and especially Kris Costopoulos, who is the event’s heart and soul.”

Costopoulos, a two-time cancer survivor and assistant principal at the north campus for junior and seniors in La Grange, started the relay 11 years ago and passed the leadership duties a year ago.

Although proceeds were down from the garage sale, the new advisers said they hope a change in the relay’s big event will make up the difference.

Teams of students will no longer gather pledges and take turns walking around the track of Bennett Field overnight in June in Western Springs.

Instead, a dance marathon event is planned from 3:30 to 11:30 p.m. April 25. The format features dancing until 7 p.m., when a ceremony is held with the lighting of luminaria in honor of all those who have battled cancer. Dancing resumes from 8 until 11:30 p.m.

“When we looked at previous relay events and the most popular portions of the event among our student participants, the music provided by WLTL and the opportunity to dance with friends and hang out were very high on the list,” Spitsberg said.

Moving the event to April also allows the opportunity for more students and staff to be involved than in June after school is finished, he said. Spitsberg said he and Sidoti are eyeing last year’s goal of raising $65,000.

“Given this community’s generosity, It isn’t impossible,” he said. “But we also want to raise awareness that the fight against cancer is not yet won and to give LT students and community members somewhere to go and to connect to other survivors, caregivers and any whose lives have been impacted by cancer.”

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