20th annual Relay for Life brings in more than $42,400
By nick longworth and Anna Erickson
The 20th annual Relay for Life of Hubbard County had a beautiful, sunny day for people to walk along a track lined with luminaries to remember and honor those who have battled with cancer. As of Tuesday morning, $42,497.38 had been raised for the American Cancer Society.
The event was again at the Park Rapids Area High School track. Before cooler weather came in late Friday night, Relay for Life participants and visitors had a celebration ceremony with an invocation, lighting of memorial candles, lighting of the Hope and Cure sign and an address by Cole Bethel, a cancer survivor.
The 13-year survivor of Neuroblastoma cancer spoke about how his life has been forever affected by the disease. He also spoke about what cancer cannot do.
Although he can’t be on the football team because he overheats too quickly, he participates in golf and plays tuba in the band. He has many opportunities and supportive family and friends.
Cole sold polka dots to put on his mother Julie’s Blazer to raise money for Relay for Life.
Survivors took a victory lap and caregivers took a lap for their hard work.
Relay for Life committee members Judy Garbo, Sandy Ritola and Cathy Hensel led the walk by holding signs that said “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.”
Relay participants raised money and volunteered for the event for a variety of reasons.
“I’m here because both of my parents passed away form cancer, and we have lots of family members that have experienced cancer,” said Shelly Franklin, a member of the Hensel Family and Friends team. “We want to provide support to find better ways of treating cancer and preventing it. We enjoy it every year, have fun and come back.”
The Hensel Family and Friends team has 88 total years of surviving cancer between team members. They sold tacos, popcorn, snacks and beverages to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Jennie Anderson, with the team Chemo-Sabe, said she was thrilled to be part of the 2014 Relay for Life.
“This is my third year with this group,” she said. “I’m not one of the nurses. It’s usually made up of chemo nurses from the oncology unit at St. Joseph’s. They’re a great group of ladies who helped my mom through her three year journey with ovarian cancer. We want to meet people, talk to them about cancer, and raise money for hopefully finding a cure. So far the turnout has been great.”
Others look forward to attending the event each year support the cause.
“A lot of relatives of mine have been affected by cancer. We’re just here to walk around and support the cause,” said Kelsey Christofferson. “It’s just a good event, we try and come every year and have come the past few years.”
Nona Iverson and granddaughter Emmie attended to support Relay for Life.
“I keep going back number one to support cancer research and the relay for life event. It’s also fun,” she said. “Usually if I have a grandchild with me it’s just a fun event to teach them what it’s all about. I lost a parent to cancer so for me if cancer research gets to the point where we can keep people living longer, or halt the disease altogether. I know I’m supporting something where the end goal is very positive.”
“We’re here to support our family, friends and the local community,” said Brittany Crabb, whose grandpa died from cancer. She was part of the Park Rapids Eye Clinic team. “We’re just trying to raise awareness for a great cause.”