Relay for Life, the overnight event symbolizing that cancer never sleeps, won another round this weekend in the fight to find the cure, while also celebrating survivorship and our achievements over the disease. A working figure of $55,000 was announced, with more coming in.
Although attendance was lighter than in years past, the level of enthusiasm was high. The people who came out on Saturday afternoon experienced a beautiful, warm summer day, and mingled with their neighbors and friends. Stories of lost loved ones, as well as the joys of survivorship were being exchanged throughout the afternoon. 400 luminarias surrounded the track with the names of those we remember. As they walked, some folks carried cards or scraps of paper with the names of people to be remembered and honored. The survivors started around the track in one direction, while their caregivers went off in the opposite one. They met in the middle, hugged and laughed, and made the final trek across the middle of the field together.
The opening ceremony began with a fly-over by the San Juan Squadrons Formation Flying Team and the invocation by Pastor Don Ford. The inspirational speaker, Sam Conti, shared her experience with cancer.
The entertainment was great. We must thank those who participated. The DJ Dude, Mike Hayward, played music throughout the entire event. There were demonstrations by the High Country Squares and the Pagosa Line Dancers. The RIP Roller Derby Girls gave an exhibition of their sport, with descriptions on legal moves allowed, and those penalized. Jack Ellis from High Altitude Blues also entertained. Following the lighting of the luminaria, always a very moving event, Big E and Friends played.
The Ladies of Alpine Lakes Ranch, whose team came in as the top fund-raisers for the fourth year in a row, held an auction in the Big Tent, realizing $4,000 from that effort alone. The three top individual money raisers were also from this team, Nancy Grovhoug, Barbara Briles and Marion Boyle. Their combined efforts produced over $6,000. The team brought in $18,000. The combined Rotary came in second place with $4,795 and Ride For Life was third with $3,678 from the motorcycle Poker Run. And, once again, Connie Prunty and her team from CenturyLink took top honors in the decorative tent competition.
On Sunday morning, Pastor Ford officiated in an extremely moving sunrise service. He told of his experience with cancer and his commitment to the cure. He said that he placed his faith and hope in those researchers working on the cure, and asked us to pray for them.
Once the awards were given out and everyone was thanked for their dedication and participation, the group went home to get a good night’s sleep. If you have not yet donated and wish to be included in this year’s tally, please feel free to visit www.archuletarelay.org or call Barbara Briles at 264-0216.
We would like to acknowledge and thank this year’s sponsors: Bank of Colorado; Bank of the San Juans; Briliam Engineering; Century Link; Choke Cherry Tree; Citizens Bank; City Market; Coleman Vision; Dr. Gerlinde Ehni, DDS; Ears 2 U Hearing Aid Center; Elk Park Veterinary Center; Four Corners Organics and Hydroponics; Galles Properties; Interior Dreams; La Plata Electric Association, Mountain Eye Care; Pagosa Dental, Pagosa Smiles; Pagosa Springs Rotary Club; Pagosa Springs Women’s Club; Scott Strategic Investments; Spears Family Foundation; Step Outdoors, LLC; Terry’s Ace Hardware; Visiting Angels; Wolf Creek Medical Care; and Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc.