By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD—Relay For Life is a place to celebrate victories in the fight against cancer, and remember those that have been lost to the disease.
Marshfield citizens did just that Friday, Aug. 1. Marshfield Middle School held the event as participants circled the track from Friday evening into the early morning hours of Saturday.
Donations are raised throughout the year from February through August. Event specialist Laural Harder said most of the money raised comes from volunteers who organize various events like car washes and brat fries. The funds are contributed to the American Cancer Society for research.
Last year Marshfield’s Relay For Life raised $115,000, according to event co-chairperson Heather Adler. This year the event raised $65,000 at the time of the relay, and donations are accepted through Aug. 29. Adler said the goal this year is to hit $100,000, and she anticipates reaching that goal by the donation deadline.
This is Adler’s third year as a co-chair of the event, and she said her favorite moment of the evening is the survivors lap.
“Watching survivors walk hand in hand as people applaud is emotional and exciting,“ Adler said.
She noted that it is important for people to know that Relay For Life is not just a team event, and that there are activities for individuals as well as teams.
“Everyone is welcome to come. It’s a public-wide event,” Adler said.
With the survivors lap and the lighting of luminaria–which commemorate current survivors and those that have passed away- attendees expressed a strong sense of family in the cancer community.
Sue Buehler, a ten year cancer survivor, spoke about her experience with cancer, including losing her sister to the disease.
“It’s a celebration for those who have survived, and a chance to remember those who are no longer with us,” Buehler said.
According to the Relay For Life website, the event began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington, raising $27,000 for cancer research. Worldwide the event has raised nearly $5 billion since its inception.
Event organizers said that those interested in donating or getting involved in the event could visit www.relayforlife.org, and enter their local zip code to find the nearest relay and further information on the event.