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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Relay to raise funds to fight cancer

  • Last year, Relay for Life participants managed to raise $60,000 toward cancer research and aid programs.
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  • Last year, Relay for Life participants managed to raise $60,000 toward cancer research and aid programs.
    Amy Eisenbarth, accounting chairwoman for Relay For Life, said the goal this year is $62,000.
    The annual Relay For Life will start at 6 p.m. June 7 at Wall Park. Teams or individuals can participate in the event for $10. Cancer survivors can participate in the event for free.
    This year, the relay is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society, a national volunteer organization dedicated to eliminating cancer. In McPherson County, the relay has managed to raise more than $1 million for the American Cancer Society to date.
    The opening ceremonies will include cancer survivors sharing how many years they’ve battled cancer.
    Last year, Eisenbarth said there were 99 cancer survivors at the relay. She said she hopes to get at least 100 at this year’s event.
    The first lap of the relay will be walked by both cancer survivors and caregivers. A caregiver is someone who’s ever had to help a cancer patient with treatment and recovery.
    “The caregivers are just as important in this event as cancer survivors,” Eisenbarth said.
    The rest of the relay will continue with registered individuals after the first lap, with teams encouraged to rotate persons every lap. The goal, Eisenbarth said, is to ensure someone is walking the relay the entire time.
    “We’re up all night for the fight, because cancer never sleeps,” Eisenbarth said, referencing a motto for the relay.
    A luminaria ceremony will take place at dusk, in order to both remember those who have died as a result of cancer and honor those who are still fighting cancer. Luminaries will be sold at the event for $10 or can be purchased online at www.relayforlife.org/mcphersoncoks.
    A luminaria is a small paper lantern, typically consisting of a candle in a small paper bag.
    The relay will last all night, with a closing ceremony at 5:15 a.m. June 8. Eisenbarth said there will be events available to participants throughout the night, including different contests and a scavenger hunt.
    New this year is a passport program, which encourages participants to stay all night for the event. For an extra $10, participants will get a card to be punched by staff every hour. If the card is punched for every hour of the event, participants will be eligible for up to $500 in prizes.
    Eisenbarth said she has been involved in Relay For Life for some time, but that the relay took on new meaning when her own husband was diagnosed with colon cancer 10 years ago. She emphasized the importance of the fundraising what that support means for families with cancer victims.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Someday, I could need the resources myself,” she said.
    Registration forms can be found on the Relay For Life website, www.relayforlife.org/mcphersoncoks. Participants can register the night of the relay as well.
    Eisenbarth said she is still looking for volunteers for the event. To volunteer or for more information on Relay For Life, call 620-480-9465.
    A Survivor Recognition night will take place on Tuesday at Freddy’s Frozen Custard. Ten percent of money spent eating at Freddy’s that night will go back to Relay For Life, and cancer survivors will get free custard. Registration forms for the relay will be available during the Freddy’s event.
    Joseph Tuszynski can be reached at jtuszynski@mcphersonsentinel.com, or follow him on Twitter @JoeTSentinel.

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