SHERIDAN — Relay for Life started 35 years ago when Dr. Gordy Klatt, who wanted to raise awareness and funds for his local charity, spent a grueling 24 hours circling his local track in Tacoma, Washington. He raised more than $27,000 and proved that when it comes to cancer, one person can make a difference.
Sheridan is bursting with community members who are passionate about carrying on the tradition of making a difference in the name of eradicating cancer.
Festivities started this week to celebrate local survivors, fighters and caretakers following a board game theme: Kicking Cancer Off The Board. Volunteers decorated downtown with purple ribbons; local businesses are participating in a window-decorating competition; and Farmers Co-op of Sheridan will be donating a percentage of its sales Friday and Saturday in preparation for the annual fundraiser.
“It’s an event to celebrate survivors and promote awareness to what resources are out there, and what is available to them,” said Michelle Jensen, a member of the event leadership team.
Breast cancer survivor, Margo Sims Marosok continues to support Relay for Life years into remission to try to repay the debt she feels from the support she received from the American Cancer Society.
“It was a good thing for me; they helped me out a lot so I want to support that,” Marosok said. “I want to support the local folks that are going through what I went through trying to find their new normal.”
Sheridan’s Relay for Life event contributed to the American Cancer Society providing 3,716 nights of free lodging, 472 modes of transportation, 127 wigs and a $790,000 research grant to Wyoming residents in 2018.
Last year, Sheridan’s Relay for Life participants collectively raised $35,000. This year, the leadership team hopes the event will bring in $45,000.
The financial contributions aren’t the only thing of value at the fundraiser. They invite everyone willing to volunteer or support the event.
“It’s nice to come out and physically to be there to show support to say, ‘I don’t know you but I want you to know that we support this fight and will support you until you get through whatever trials you’re going through, whether it’s treatments, or trying to get back to normal after fighting,’” Marosok said.
“I think people would be surprised at how many cancer survivors there are in Sheridan, and it’s important that the community knows when they donate money or their time, it’s going straight back into the state,” Jensen said.
Come rain or shine, Saturday’s event will kick off by a survivor dinner at 5 p.m. and opening ceremonies will start at 6 p.m.
The Bark for Life Contest will start at 6:30 p.m., where furry friends can compete in an agility course. The Luminaria ceremony will start at 9:30 p.m., where luminaries will be sold to honor a cancer survivor, fighter or in memory of those who lost the fight to cancer.
The relay glow 5K run/walk will start at 10:30 p.m. and closing ceremonies will follow at 11:30 p.m. The free event at Whitney Commons will have food and games throughout the evening.