Saturday, May 16, 2015

Relay for Life

By Will Bublitz

If you could save someone’s life by walking a mile or two, would you do it?

That’s what Barbara Dole is asking the community to do. She is the event lead for the 2015 Lincoln County Relay for Life scheduled for Saturday, July 11 in Limon. The 12-hour walking event is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

“Those with cancer suffer from this disease each and every second of the day,” Barbara said. “In past Relays for Life, I’ve personally walked on the track for the entire 12 hours. People say to me why wear yourself out, but that’s nothing compared to what people with cancer and their families go through every day. All of us regardless of who we are know someone who has been touched by cancer.”

The Relay for Life is organized as a relay event for teams whose members take turns walking around the athletic track at Limon High School for 12 hours. Pledges are made for the number of laps they complete. Each team must have a member on the track at all times during the relay.

“We’re shooting for at least 30 teams to participate in this year’s Relay for Life,” Barbara said. “If you’re part of a team, it’s more fun and meaningful to participate. We’re hoping to have teams from the entire local community including the towns of Limon, Hugo, Genoa, Arriba, Karval as well as from across the area.”


This year’s Relay for Life is set up differently from previous years. The biggest change is the time of the event, which starts at 12 p.m. noon and ends at 12 a.m. midnight. During that 12-hour period on Saturday, July 11, the teams will be walking laps around the athletic track at Limon High School.
“We decided to try something totally different this year by having our relay during the day through midnight so more of the community could take part,” Barbara said. “During one year’s relay here in Lincoln County, we raised $34,000. We want to make this year’s event the biggest and best yet.”
In addition to the scheduling, this year’s Relay for Life has made some other changes.

“We’re also holding a carnival at the Limon High School track,” Barbara said. “Each team that signs up is encouraged to have a fundraising booth at the event. With the carnival theme, we are hoping that we’ll have lots of different kinds of games for everyone to enjoy. We already have some lined up because everyone seems very excited about the changes. Some teams will be holding fundraisers prior to the relay, so keep an eye out to join in.”

Barbara said it doesn’t matter where these fundraisers are held before or during the July 11 event.
Another big change for this year’s Relay for Life is that no registration fee will be charged for participants or teams.

“It’s very easy to register a team or join a team online at relayforlife.org/lincolncounty,” Barbara said. “If you want to join a team, just hop on the website and search for a team. It only takes a few minutes to register. There is no limit to how many members you can have on a team. This is also where you would create a team.”

This year’s Lincoln County event is a special luncheon for cancer survivors.

“Our survivor lead Richard Johnson will be preparing all of his famous barbecue,” Barbara said. “Survivor invitations will be sent soon for RSVP. If you are aware of someone who is a survivor that may not know about the relay, please inform them or contact me so I can get the information to them. We want all our beautiful survivors with us that day.”

While this year’s Relay for Life has several changes, Barbara emphasized that some of the annual event’s most cherished features will continue including the Luminaria Ceremony that honors “cancer survivors, loved ones lost to cancer and those celebrating life.” It features decorated paperbags with lights inside that are positioned around the track starting after nightfall at 9 p.m.

“This ceremony is always very touching because it’s a time during the relay that we remember the ones we’ve lost, the ones that are still fighting and the ones who have beaten this dreaded disease,” Barbara said.

“One of the wonderful things about the new time for this year’s event is that we’ll have a table set up with luminaria bags for you to purchase and decorate without being rushed. Ms. Jan Layton, our luminaria lead, will be sure to have lots of markers and crayons for you to decorate your bag for that special someone.”

Also returning for this year’s Relay for Life is the event’s popular disc jockey, James Shelley, who is a cancer survivor himself.

“James is an awesome DJ,” Barbara said. “He is extremely excited about the new time and day of events.”

And what would a popular community event such as the Relay for Life be without concession stands for participants and community members to enjoy.

“Jerry Dole, our food lead, has so many great food items planned this year,” Barbara said. “If you can find it at a carnival, it will likely be at our relay. Even if you’re not on a team, stop on by to enjoy the funnel cake or some cotton candy and see what the relay is all about. After eating some of the yummy food, you might even want to walk a few laps.”

While the 2015 Lincoln County Relay for Life is designed as a real community event for everyone to enjoy, Barbara said no one should underestimate how vitally important it is in the fight against cancer.
“Cancer affects all of us regardless of who were are,” Barbara said. “We all know someone who has died from it, has it now or who has survived it. The funds raised by the relay go to assist the American Cancer Society in its cancer research and help to cancer patients and their families.”

Barbara explained that many don’t realize that some of the funds raised in the Lincoln County event come back to directly help local cancer patients and their families.

“The funds collected are dispersed by the American Cancer Society,” she said. “Some of those funds go to pay for families to stay in Hope Houses to be near their family member while they are undergoing cancer treatments. These American Cancer Society funds assisted four Lincoln County families last year.”

On a personal level, Barbara has been personally involved in the fight against cancer for several years. She has been a participant in the Race for a Cure in Denver for 20 years. She also began helping with the Lincoln County Relay for Life six years ago. This is her second year as its event lead. 

“I became involved in the fight against cancer because a lot of my family members and friends have lost their lives to it and several are still fighting it,” she said. “Last year, I lost a dear, beautiful friend to cancer. For this year’s Relay for Life, I’m personally doing it in dedication to the memory of my friend Lori Johnson, who was our local event’s Survivor Chairperson. She passed away from cancer last October. Lori was passionate about the Relay being a survivor herself. She always gave 100 percent-plus all year long for our Relay events.”

For those wanting to help prepare for this year’s event, a Relay for Life meeting and potluck will be held Monday, June 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the Railroad Park in Limon. Everyone is invited.

“Also, we’re always looking for sponsors for our relay,” Barbara said. “Ms. Julia Boger, Richard Johnson and myself will be going around to all the businesses in our community. So if you see one of us heading your way, be prepared to learn about the relay and become a sponsor.”

And, of course, as always the American Cancer Society is helping with this year’s local event.
“Our ACS staff partner this year is Tyler Schultz, and we appreciate all of his assistance with our event,” Barbara said. “Mr. Schultz and his staff have worked extremely hard to make sure that Lincoln County’s relay is a success.”

If you have questions about the Lincoln County Relay for Life, contact Barbara at burb258@esrta.com or by calling (719) 760-2050. You can also contact Tyler Schultz of the American Cancer Society at (719) 630-4978 or cancer.org.

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