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Relay for Life raises spirits, $38,000 for cancer society

Relay for Life

With Mother Nature cooperating, the 2015 Relay for Life drew many, recognizing lives lost and celebrating victories won. “It means the world to me,” said Michelle Goodman, the event lead who lost her mother and former Relay participant Carol Nickolauson to brain cancer. “It stands for exactly what it says - a relay for life.” Cancer survivor John Schumacher and wife Bernie expressed gratitude for the support they received during his battle with cancer. “Never be afraid to reach out,” he said of realizing their responsiblity now to pay it forward. “The support was unbelievable.” He advocated reaching out with “even the smallest act of kindness.”

The American Cancer Society was formed 100 years ago. At the time, one in 10 survived. Now it’s two out of three win the battle. Funds from the event go toward research and miscellaneous costs incurred by those undergoing treatment.

Three-time survivor Laurie Tillmans, left, arrived with wildly fluorescent colored hair. “You gotta have fun with life,” she said.

Relay for Life’s poignant Celebration Ceremony Friday was led by bagpiper Brian Solum, Caregiver Flagbears, from left, Chris, Maria and Owen Wagner followed by Survivor Torchbearer Florelle Johnson. “We go through this and human spirits remain strong,” Master of Ceremonies Nichole Weston said. She urged the audience to engage hope in the battle with cancer. “Victory is just a matter of time,” she said of finding a cure.