Cancer survivors, family members and volunteers will converge at the Park Rapids Area High School track Friday, June 19 for the 15th annual Hubbard County American Cancer Society Relay for Life. This year's theme is "Celebrating 25 years of hope - remember, celebrate and fight back."
From 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., more than 20 teams will pace the track in an effort to raise money for cancer research. Teams consist of eight people or more and are expected to raise at least $100 per team member before the walk by asking for donations and selling luminaries for $5 each.
At the Relay for Life, the luminary bags lining the track will be lit as a symbol of hope for those currently struggling with cancer and in remembrance of those who have lost the battle. Luminary bags can be purchased from any Relay for Life team member, at the relay, by calling Cathy Hensel, publicity chair, at 573-2284, or at any of the three banks in Park Rapids.
At 8 p.m. everyone is welcome to a special ceremony introducing participating teams and cancer survivors. At that time, the luminaries will be lit and the survivors will take a special walk around the track with music. About 100 cancer survivors usually participate in the Relay for Life; more than 50 are already registered for this year's event. Cancer survivors interested in joining the survivor lap are asked to show up at the track by 6:30 p.m. to register. For more information about the survivor lap, call Sue Monsrud at 237-2067.
During the ceremony, "Hope" and "Cure" signs will be lit. Each sign holds 45 luminaries, sold for $25 apiece. People who purchase the luminaries will be invited to light them personally. To purchase a Hope or Cure luminary, contact Rose Higgins at 732-3366 (work) or 732-5308 (home).
Teams also will have booths lining the track, selling concessions and sponsoring silent auction and raffles to raise even more funds for the American Cancer Society. Hungry walkers and observers can purchase tacos, hot dogs, brats, bars, water, soda, French fries from RDO, and other treats. Teams also offer games for children and family activities. Mike Torkelson from Duluth serves as DJ, providing music.
Last year, the Hubbard County Relay for Life raised about $77,000 for the American Cancer Society. This year, organizers hope to maintain last year's total through private donations and corporate sponsorships.
Whether you've been affected by cancer or just want to help the fight, Hensel urges everyone to check out this year's Relay for Life.
You don't have to be on a team to participate, come out enjoy a fun evening, walk the track, visit with friends, enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere, play a few games, eat some food and watch the survivor lap and the luminary lighting ceremony.
For more information call Pat Sullivan, event co-chair, at 732-0360 of Judy Garbo at 732-4813.