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Ceremonies to remember cancer victims

By Jeanette T. Bean
Special to The PREVIEW

Photo courtesy Jeanette T. Bean Suzy Bruce, Luke Hansen and Carolyn Church prepare luminarias for last year’s Relay for Life. At dusk on Friday, June 20, the luminarias will be lit to represent those who have lost their fight with cancer.

Photo courtesy Jeanette T. Bean
Suzy Bruce, Luke Hansen and Carolyn Church prepare luminarias for last year’s Relay for Life. At dusk on Friday, June 20, the luminarias will be lit to represent those who have lost their fight with cancer.

There are two very special ceremonies to honor cancer victims during the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Archuleta County, which will be held this year on Friday, June 20, at the Pagosa Springs High School field.

The first honors those who have survived cancer, and the second remembers those who have not. We will begin at 5 p.m. with the medal presentations to survivors, followed by the survivors and caregivers walk at 6 p.m.

We honor our survivors in a very special way. Each survivor who has registered will be given a T-shirt and a medal at kickoff, and their name will be read. But, you have to register right away as the deadline for T-shirts is tomorrow. Please contact our survivor’s chair, Ashli Stretton, at aastretton@gmail.com or 946-7824.

At dusk, around 8:15 p.m., the luminarias will be lit to represent those who have lost their fight. It is beautiful when all the candles in the bags are illuminated around the track, and such a moving way to remember our loved ones. For information about making a luminaria donation, please contact Sam Conti at samiam@centurytel.net.

This year our chairman, Rod Proffitt, dedicated the Relay to his friend, Tim Jennings, who was fighting leukemia. Unfortunately, Jennings lost that fight recently. His wife and family were able to get him back to Pagosa where he wanted to be in his last days and he died as comfortably as they could make him at home. Jennings was a good friend and strong supporter of Relay and his family has asked that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to Relay in his memory.

We all remember Jennings dressed as a voluptuous lady, going around gathering money votes at last year’s event. He had a great sense of humor. In addition to Jennings, Proffitt also had a personal tragedy in the loss of his wife to cancer. We can all identify, as no family seems to be without a cancer victim.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 with its national headquarters in Atlanta, the society has 13 regional divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information, call (800) ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.

This story was posted on May 22, 2014.