Eleventh Annual Relay For Life Starts Friday Evening
(Shaun Friedrichsen, Publisher)
Despite the high temperatures that are expected Friday, the 11th annual Relay for Life will once again see many people from all over Jefferson County flocking to the fairgrounds at 6 p.m. to give hope, share support and promote life.
Krystal Schroeder, co-chair for Relay for Life, explained that this event helps to raise money to support those who have been diagnosed with cancer, survivors and family members, as well as to raise awareness about the importance of getting tested for cancer.
“It’s a way to raise money for cancer research, whether it’s treatments like chemo, radiation; it also provides wigs for women who need them when they’ve lost their hair; gas cards for people who are in a financial pinch and don’t have the financial ability to put gas in their vehicle. Everything that we raise goes back to the American Cancer Society, and they disperse it where they need to,” said Schroeder.
The event is also meant to celebrate the victory of those people who have survived cancer or who are currently in remission.
“We want them to be able to celebrate another birthday,” Schroeder said. “We’re doing this for the cancer survivors and to keep them here as long as possible. Hopefully one day there’s a cure.”
The opening ceremonies for Relay for Life begin at 6 p.m.; however, Schroeder asked that those who have survived cancer arrive at the fairgrounds prior to the opening ceremonies for registration.
The event will feature a survivor’s lap, in which those who have survived cancer walk around the course at the fairgrounds to honor them. After that, caregivers who have helped people diagnosed with cancer will take a lap around the course.
The various Relay for Life teams in Jefferson County will be recognized for the money they raised throughout the year. People will be invited to walk around the course throughout the evening. At sundown, around 9:30, Schroeder explained a luminary ceremony will recognize the survivors, those who are continuing to fight cancer and those who have lost their battle.
Closing ceremonies will begin at 11:45 p.m.
For Schroeder, staying active with Relay for Life is important because cancer has affected her family.
“When I started out, I was just a co-worker at the Heritage Care Center,” said Schroeder. “Somebody invited me to go over to Gage County with them, with their team. I went, and I thought it was a very good cause. Every time you turn around, there’s somebody who’s diagnosed with cancer, who’s lost their battle with cancer.
“It hit home six years ago,” Schroeder continued. “My husband’s mother was diagnosed six years ago, and then she lost her battle two years later. And then, I lost my cousin last year. It’s just hit more home than what it did prior to.”
Schroeder emphasized that it is important to raise awareness about cancer and why it is crucial to be tested for it. Catching cancer in the early stages can help improve the odds of winning the battle against it.
“From mammograms to women’s yearly physicals, it is so important to do,” said Schroeder. “The awareness of what smoking can do to you, and why it’s important for men to be checked because prostate cancer is something that touches so many men. It’s preventable, if you get checked and it’s in the early stages, you can be cured.”
Schroeder encourages those who are curious about Relay for Life to visit the website http://relay.acsevents.org/site/PageServer?pagename=relay_learn_whatisrelay, or to attend the event on Friday evening. People can also contact Schroeder at 402-587-0387. She hopes that many people attend Relay for Life this year, especially survivors.
“We want them to know what we’re doing for them, what we’re doing to fight for them so they can continue to have the resources that are needed to keep them here,” Schroeder said. “We try to do everything we can to support that survivor, to support that family, both before and after. It’s about awareness. We want people to be aware of what cancer can do, whether it’s to yourself or a loved one.”