July 31, 2013 | Volume 100 No. 31

Keeping the Faith

Relay For Life Enjoys New Venue

Teams large and small filled the track around the Independence Stage at the fairgrounds last weekend at the Relay for Life, the big fundraiser in the fight against cancer. It was a new venue for the Relay, but everything seemed to

Samar Fay / The Courier
Skip Erickson lights the Flame of Hope at the beginning of the Relay for Life on Friday.

fit in around the stage with room for the luminarias and the Torch of Hope, which was lit by Skip Erickson. Rod Karst had the microphone again, introducing the teams and joking with everyone since he has known them for years. The first round on the track was the traditional Survivors’ Lap by those in purple shirts, followed by the 23 teams.

The keynote address was given by Bob Connors, who described his experiences since the diagnosis of

squamous cell carcinoma in 2002. He has had 21 surgeries and scores of radiation treatments.

“It’s really enlightening. You live with it every day. We’ve accepted it,” Connors said. “It doesn’t mean we

stop fighting; it doesn’t mean giving up. You just keep going on and on and on.”

He said you have to attack with humor, because if you don’t laugh, you don’t live.

Sandy Laumeyer, a three-year survivor, said she was there for a friend, Mona, who lost her battle with cancer.

Sandy and Mona’s father founded the Purple Angel Fund, which gives money for day to day assistance to people with a brain tumor.

The fairgrounds offers indoor space under the grandstand that was put to good use for vendors, the Relay Store, the silent auctions and the Remembrance area.

Among the entertainments was the Mr. Relay contest, a scary proposition involving big guys, wigs and makeup.

It was sponsored by the Re-Lei-ers, a Hawaiian themed team. The six volunteers had five minutes to get made up and five minutes to work the crowd, collecting as much money as possible to donate to the Relay.

The winner was Tyler Hersom, aka Sandra, who took the title with $304. The fundraiser picked up an extra $720.25 for Relay.

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