Twelve teams took to the Delta High School track Friday night to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. By the time the sun peeked over the horizon Saturday morning, the 200 registered relayers had raised $31,406.57 for the fight against cancer.
The top three teams were Walmart, $8,950.42; Bad News Blairs & Squares, $4,388.85; and Ribbons of the Rockies, $4,085. Top individual fundraisers were Debby Blair, $1,630.93; Bobbie Turecek, $755; and Margaret Bathie, $677.
More than four million people in over 20 countries raise funds and awareness through the Relay For Life movement. The Relay for Life is also an opportunity to celebrate those who have overcome cancer, as survivors were honored during the first lap around the track. The honorary survivor, Danielle Fresquez, was diagnosed with Hodgin’s lymphoma as a young woman. Cancer does not discriminate, she said during the opening ceremony. It has no age.
“I relay for myself, those we have lost and those fighting the big fight,” she explained.
Survivors walked a half lap alone, because that’s how they started their journey. Then they were joined by the caregivers who have stood by their side in the battle against cancer.
After the survivors’ lap, team members took turns walking through the night. The Delta Key Club put together a variety of activities to keep the energy level high.
Angela Schwarz, committee chair, said one of the most popular activities is the Mr. Relay pageant. A male contestant from each team dresses in drag and walks the runway, holding out his handbag for donations. The contestant who collects the most money wins. This year, TJ Weaver of “Pretty in Pink and Purple” was crowned Mr. Relay.
Team members also “relayed” to collect puzzle pieces, and danced and dipped beneath a length of rope for the limbo lap. But the night wasn’t all fun and games. During a moving luminaria ceremony, loved ones who lost their battle to cancer, and those who are currently fighting the disease, were honored.
Throughout the night, teams continued their fundraising efforts by selling snacks, beverages, crafts and services such as back massages.
Prizes were awarded to the team campsite which best reflected the theme, “Camera ... Action ... CURE!”
Schwarz said all the teams did an amazing job of raising funds for cancer awareness, research and support. “Per capita, I believe we raised the highest amount of money on the Western Slope,” she said.
A wrap-up meeting and celebration will be held Aug. 28. At that time, Schwarz said the top teams and the top individual fundraisers will be honored, but everyone will receive recognition for their hard work.