SHERIDAN — The annual Relay for Life of Sheridan will begin tomorrow. The event, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society will take place at Kendrick Park, beginning Friday evening and lasting through the night until 7 a.m. Saturday with individuals walking laps through the park all night.
The national event marks 23 years this year and Sheridan Relay Chair Carrie Brantz said the event in Sheridan has been held for more than half that time. In addition, this is the 100-year anniversary of the American Cancer Society.
“Relay is just a fun way to raise money to stop cancer,” said Brantz. “Relay is to come and hang out with all your friends and family, bring as many people as you want, camp out all night and celebrate the people who are still with us and remember those who we lost.”
“We go overnight because cancer never sleeps and neither do we,” added Nicole Marron, an ACS community organizer. “It is just a great event for celebrating and remembering but also fighting back against cancer and giving people the opportunity to be part of that fight.”
A kickoff dinner will be held at 5 p.m. Friday for cancer survivors and their caregivers, followed by opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. As of Monday, 23 teams, with 164 members had raised over $25,000.
“Some years back we would have 30 or more teams and then for whatever reason it dwindled but now we are building back up and we are real excited to have 23 teams signed up,” said team development chair Charlene Huber. “We really increased this year in our teams and in our funds. It is wonderful.”
Huber’s own team was formed after the death of their former team captain Judy Warren from breast cancer.
“When our team leader, Judy Warren passed away from breast cancer, three of us decided our team would not die with her,” said Huber. “So we’ve carried it on as Judy’s Radiating Stars. Three of our captains have been diagnosed with and survived cancer. Rhonda Hart and Karen Steir have had breast cancer and are now cancer free and then in September 2012 I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer but I am in remission.”
Brantz said anyone from the community is welcome to participate in the event. Several entertainers will be performing, including Dave Munsick, Tara Laurence and Mick Johnson. In addition, most of the teams will have various events and fundraisers going on. There will also be a rock climbing wall, food vendors and a DJ providing music late into the night.
For those wishing to make a donation, luminarias can be purchased for a suggested donation of $5 until 8:30 p.m. Friday. The luminarias are bags with candles that are placed inside and line the walking course. They can be decorated with photos, drawings, stickers or sayings, in memory of someone lost to cancer or in honor of someone fighting the disease.
“In the trickle down, it stays here in Sheridan in more ways than one,” said Huber, about where the money from the event goes. “The Welch Cancer Center has an American Cancer Society resource center there and that is one of the things that is funded. I got my wig from there and it cost me nothing. And let us not forget the drugs that we take to eradicate the cancer from our bodies. The research that has gone into that, a good deal of that has been paid for by the ACS. We provide lodging and help people with transportation to and from their treatments if they need that help.”
“There’s just a feeling of camaraderie there (at Relay),” she continued. “Everyone joins together and supports everyone else. There are so many people there who have had cancer or have a family member or someone close to them with cancer and they are there to beat this disease. We intend to keep fighting until we wipe this thing out.”