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Families and friends walk all night at Relay for Life

By Susan Williams
Special to The PREVIEW

Walkers will go around the clock in the battle against cancer when the 2013 American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Archuleta County gets underway with teams of residents gathering at the Pagosa Springs High School track Friday, June 21.

Opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m.

This year, Relay For Life volunteers would like to honor survivors and caregivers with a free dinner, beginning at 5 p.m., provided by Pagosa Springs Rotary Clubs. Survivors and caregivers can register the night of the event at the Survivor Tent in the middle of the field, and will receive their free purple T-shirt at that time.

This year’s Relay For Life committee has worked to have a variety of activities for all ages. Some of these activities include hot air balloon rides, a silent auction, inflatables and a dunk tank. There will also be presentations from local groups including Boy Scout Troop 807, High Country Squares, line dancers, Zumba and Sozo Yoga.

Relay For Life events are held overnight, as individuals and teams camp out at the track, park or other gathering area, with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the track or pathway at all times throughout the event. Teams do most of their fund-raising prior to the event, but some teams also hold creative fund-raisers at their campsites during Relay.

Relay brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, faith-based groups — people from all walks of life, all aiming at furthering the American Cancer Society’s efforts to save lives by helping people stay well, by helping them get well, by finding cures and by fighting back.

This week, Relay For Life volunteers have rallied support from local businesses through the “Painting the Town Purple” event. Large purple ribbons and event posters are displayed throughout the downtown business area. The Relay for Life Committee would like to thank the Town of Pagosa Springs and corporate business sponsors for their generosity in furthering the mission of the American Cancer Society. This year, Relay organizers would like to thank the two presenting sponsors, Wyndham Vacation Ownerships and Athletes at Altitude.

“Relay is a unique opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember those we’ve lost, and fight back against the disease,” said Susan Williams, American Cancer Society. “Many of the participants are cancer survivors, which serves as a reminder that Archuleta County is not immune to this disease and that by participating in Relay, we are joining with the American Cancer Society’s efforts to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.”

Funds raised at Relay For Life of Archuleta County are enabling the American Cancer Society to impact the lives of those touched by cancer within the community.

Relay For Life’s Luminaria Ceremony takes place after sundown, honoring the community’s cancer survivors and remembering those lost to the disease. Participants will circle a track surrounded with glowing luminaria, each bearing the name of someone who has battled cancer. Luminaria can be purchased for $10 at the event or by visiting ArchuletaRelay.org.

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than 3 million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; by helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discoveries; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer, and countless more who have avoided it, will be celebrating birthdays this year.

To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at (800) 227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

The Relay For Life Committee would like to extend an invitation to the entire community to join them on Friday, June 21, beginning at 4:30 p.m. to enjoy this event. This is a free event, open to the public, and will include a variety of food vendors, live entertainment and fun,  family friendly activities.

This story was posted on June 20, 2013.