Published On: Thu, May 23rd, 2013

Community will host Relay for Life for the first time

RANDOLPH — An exciting event is soon coming to town. The Cedar County Relay for Life will take place in Randolph on Friday, May 31, at the football field located in the Randolph City Park. The charitable event will begin at 6 p.m. and end at midnight.

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is an event of celebration of survivorship and an event to express hope and a shared goal to find a cure to cancer, a disease that affects the lives of so many individuals. It is the signature event for the American Cancer Society each year.

Relay for Life first began to take shape in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Wash. He raised over $27,000 to help fund the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer. In 1986, over 300 supporters took part in the event. Since then, Relay for Life has continually gained traction. In total, it has raised over $4 billion for cancer research.

The Cedar County Relay for Life has been an annual event since 2002. This is the first time Randolph will host the event.

The night will be full of events from beginning to end. The opening ceremony will kick off at 6 p.m. The opening ceremony is the event bringing everyone together. This high-energy kickoff celebrates the lives of those who have battled cancer. It is an inspiring time, where participants celebrate accomplishments and progress in the fight against cancer.

To continue from the opening ceremony, the survivors lap will take place at 6:30 p.m. During the survivors lap, cancer survivors walk around the track to music, being cheered on by other participants who line around the track. These people celebrate the survivors in their fight against cancer.

The survivors lap hits home to one local person. “The survivors lap is my favorite part of Relay for Life,” said Sandra Kuhlman. “It is touching to know that I am among those who have survived cancer. It means so much to me to witness so many people supporting me.”

Kuhlman is a two-time survivor of cancer. Her first bout was 24 years ago, and her most recent fight against cancer was in 2009. She is proud to have been participating in the event for the past 10 years.

Immediately following the survivors lap will be the caregivers lap at 6:40 p.m. This lap incorporates anyone who has ever cared for an individual in the fight against cancer. Caregivers walk this lap with the people they have helped along the way. Following this second lap, all participants will walk the third lap as a community, all celebrating together.

One of the most inspirational scenes of the night will be present at 10 p.m. during the luminaria ceremony. This ceremony is a time to remember the people who have lost the fight against cancer, those who currently fight cancer, and to those who have fought cancer previously. This ceremony brings emotions out of all people as they reflect on the effects of cancer.

The fight back ceremony will begin at 11 p.m. This symbolizes the commitment of everyone to continue to fight cancer. It encourages everyone to never take a break from fighting cancer, because it is a year-round fight and commitment to saving lives.

To wrap up the event, the closing ceremony will take place at midnight. This ceremony symbolizes a time to remember the lives of all of those who are or have been affected by cancer.

Nicole Berner, chairperson of this year’s event, said that the annual event is a lot of work and effort, but she appreciates how everyone takes a task and helps out with the event. This year, there have been numerous volunteers to get ready for Relay for Life.

Ray and Deb Schnell are in charge of the luminarias; Jo Kilburn is the publicity chairperson; Sandra Kuhlman is in charge of online tasks; and Stacey Scott and Pam Thies are running activities for the evening.

Jo Kilburn did note, however, that this year’s event is a lighter load, because it is not an overnight event. The Relay for Life will conclude at midnight this year.

Relay for Life is a great event for local youth to get involved in the fight against cancer. All three church youth groups in Randolph have participants that will be involved in this year’s event. The Catholic Youth Organization has nearly 40 members taking part this year. Luther League and the Methodist Youth Group are also participating. All together, there will be 10 separate teams participating in this year’s event.

The Catholic Youth Organization has been raising money this past year to go to the proceeds of the event. They have hosted a spaghetti dinner and slave auction, with all of the proceeds benefiting cancer research and prevention.

Pick up this week’s issue of the Randolph Times to read more!