Hope for a Cure

After nearly a year of planning, the Relay for Life is coming up fast Friday and Saturday, March 13-14 inside the Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse.
No worries about chilly winds or unpredictable weather this year.
Organizers are expecting more than 44 teams who have already signed up, but there is still time to put teams together to participate in addition to those spur-of-the moment folks who just want to show up Friday for the “soft start” at 4 p.m.
Relay for Life is the chance for everyone to make a difference, “where the cure begins with you,” helping to raise money for cancer research. Traditionally teams take turns walking around the track from beginning to end so there is always someone from the team walking during the entire event. But the event has evolved into one that is less structured and more open to anybody who wants to participate.
“People can come in that day, saying ‘we’re a team and here we are,'” said Karen Morris, one of the event organizers and a volunteer with We Care Cancer Support, Inc. “There’s no charge to participate — people can just come and walk to show their support.
“Any one can come in off the street and be a part of the event,” she added. “Moving the event inside means we have more space for more people.
In order to raise funds for research many teams have already been conducting fund-raising efforts in various ways, while others will “up the ante” on fund raising during the event. Fundraising usually includes fun activities, entertainment, and so much more. In past years, teams have sold funny hats, popcorn and a variety of other foods, kisses, root beer floats, offered games, and more, all in the name of camaraderie and beating cancer.
“We want this town to turn purple again so we can fight off cancer,” Morris said “Everybody knows somebody affected by cancer, probably many times over, so everyone knows how this disease can change the lives of families and friends as well as those who either struggle or have lost their battles, everyone involved experiences a loss.
The relay also serves to honor those friends and family who have gone through or are fighting an unimaginable hell, and those who lost their battles while demonstrating courage and grace.
Just because the disease doesn’t discriminate, doesn’t make it any less of a monster. Those left behind struggle with the loss, trying to make sense of it all while picking up the pieces in an effort to figure out what comes next.
“Relay is important so the American Cancer Society can continue to fund research.”
While the nature of the relay is for a serious cause, fun is also the name of the game for participants.
Kicking off the relay are opening ceremonies Friday, 7 p.m., featuring the Mohave High School ROTC, directed by Major Earl Davis, who will present colors, lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and post the colors. Sheila Patton will sing the National Anthem, followed by Grace Black offering an invocation and serving as the event emcee, the guest speaker is Chaz Martinez at (7:15 p.m.).
Survivors and caregivers gather together for the first ceremonial lap carrying team banners and flags as all teams are introduced. Ms. Relay contestants will be introduced at this time (8 p.m.).
Lap “themes” will change throughout the night and next morning, such as the Crazy Hat Lap, the Cha Cha Slide Lap, Spirit Stick Lap, Save Our Tatas Lap (with decorated bras), Patriotic Lap, Sports Team Lap, Pajama Lap, Beach Ball Lap, Hula Hoop Lap, the Toilet Paper/Plunger relay and more.
The most moving and powerful portion of the evening is the Luminaria Ceremony, where the lights are dimmed except for the luminarias lighting the way around the walking track, a power point slide show commences, and the names “in honor of,” or “in memory of” are read. In past years the event has started with a brisk, cold wind whipping through the event area, scattering pieces of participant booths all around, but when the luminarias come out, the wind dies down and remains calm during this part of the night.
Activities also include a corn hole tournament, entertainment, and awards are presented during the closing ceremony Saturday morning for the last camp standing, best camp site, most money raised, and who ran all night long.
“We always have at least one person who does that every year,” Morris said.
The schedule is subject to last minute changes.
Prior to the relay is a free dinner for cancer survivors.
We Care Cancer Support Inc. presents the annual Colorado River Relay For Life Cancer Survivor Dinner, planned for Friday, March 13. In the earlier stages of planning this dinner, organizers were asking people to make a reservation because the dinner is to be catered with three different choices. However, for those who haven’t signed up or made a reservation, Morris said there are still a few more seats available. Invitations were attached to the Relay for Life participation form, for a survivor and a guest.
“The dinner may turn into a buffet situation instead because in the past survivors and their guests simply showed up, so people may think they can still do that this year,” she said.
While they want people who did make reservations to receive the dinner they requested, Morris said they also don’t want to turn anyone away.
The free dinner will be prepared by Chef Alex Mayo and will be served in the Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse Banquet Room.
“Once survivors have completed treatment we seem to forget about them and the amount of courage it takes to overcome this tremendous obstacle, so we want to make them feel special,” Morris said. “That’s why we’re having this dinner sponsored by TriState Pain Institute.
“Our guest speaker is Dr. Benjamin Venger, of TriState Pain Institute, who wanted to do a little more for cancer survivors this year by offering this specially catered dinner for them,” she added.
Survivors and a guest can choose from mozzarella chicken Florentine served a top a bed of risotto with vegetable spring medley; apple chutney stuffed pork loin served atop roasted garlic mashed potatoes and vegetable spring medley; or vegetarian lasagna with vegetable spring medley. Each meal includes salad, rolls, dessert and beverages.
For more information about the dinner or to make a reservation, call Morris at 928-201-2327 or Debbie Hendren at 202-805-5417.


Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse

Friday-Saturday, March 13-14 (opening ceremony 7 p.m.)

Free to participate