Cancer survivors lead the way during the Yampa Valley Relay for Life’s survivors’ lap Friday evening at the Moffat County High School track. At the beginning of the event, organizers announced that funds raised exceeded $20,000. Organizers will continue raising money through the end of August.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Cancer survivors lead the way during the Yampa Valley Relay for Life’s survivors’ lap Friday evening at the Moffat County High School track. At the beginning of the event, organizers announced that funds raised exceeded $20,000. Organizers will continue raising money through the end of August.

Yampa Valley Relay for Life raises more than $20,000

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Top Relay fundraising teams

As of the opening ceremonies for this year’s event Friday evening, Yampa Valley Relay For Life has raised more than $20,000 for the American Cancer Society, with funds brought in by more than 200 people on 15 teams. The top three fundraisers as of the beginning of the night were Mom’s Kancer Krusaders with $6,406, Jean’s Angels with $3,645 and Hayden HEAT with $3,053.

Relay organizers will continue to accept donations through the end of August.

For more information on getting involved with Relay for Life, call 620-2191 or email yampavalleyrfl@ya...

Celebrate. Remember. Fight back.

These four words were emblazoned on many T-shirts Friday evening at the Moffat County High School track as more than 200 registered participants took part in the opening ceremonies of the 2011 Yampa Valley Relay for Life.

Among them was Ken Prescott, wearing the same color shirt as many others in the crowd. The purple hue of their shirts signified a shared struggle — surviving cancer.

With 15 teams walking along the track throughout the night and to 9 a.m. today, the event raised more than $20,000 for the American Cancer Society.

The Relay began with Prescott pumping up the crowd as a deejay, master of ceremonies and motivational speaker.

“Everybody has a story, everybody has a reason they’re out here tonight,” he said. “Everybody has been affected by or knows someone who has been affected by cancer.”

Prescott continued, asking what goes through the minds of people when they are diagnosed with the disease and likewise, what goes through the minds of their family and friends who don’t know how to lend support.

“What can you tell them?” he asked. “You can tell them, ‘I’m in it. I’m in it for the long haul.’”

Prescott, who has been involved with Relay for Life since 1998, has been affected by cancer multiple ways.

His first wife was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Prescott learned last year that he had lung cancer. Following radiation and chemotherapy, he has so far gotten out of the woods for the disease.

To Prescott, his battle seemed small in comparison to the horrors a friend had faced.

“I’m out here for my best friend in the whole wide world, Jessica Herrera,” he said. “She’s been hit by cancer four times. Yes, I have cancer, but it’s hit me once.

“There’s got to be a cure. There’s got to be a way to stop all this.”

During the ceremonies, event chairperson Ryan Rowley announced the teams and individuals who had raised the most money so far. Of the five people who had raised more than $1,000 individually, Elisa Hayes, the event’s online chairperson, had brought in $3,800.

Hayes said she was happy to be able to contribute to her team, Mom’s Kancer Krusaders, and the cause as a whole.

“For all the years that we’ve been doing this, it’s always been a team event,” she said. “I lost my sister to breast cancer, and I relay for her. For all the years that she was ill, the American Cancer Society was actively involved in her health care, and this is my way of paying them back.”

Hayes said changing the name from Craig Relay for Life to Yampa Valley Relay for Life brought in more people, such as Hayden residents.

“We’re hoping to get people from Rangely and Meeker to start coming out, too,” she said.

The ongoing walk around the track kicked off with the survivors’ lap, with 49 local cancer survivors starting the process.

Among them was Krista Nehring, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1988. She received a clean bill of health in 1990 and is now thankful for all the blessings in her life.

One of those is being able to walk with her husband, Eric, and their 13-month-old daughter, Dakota.

“I didn’t think we were going to have this little one,” Krista said. “All things are possible through God.”

The Nehrings only recently got involved with the Relay, but they plan to continue doing the event.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who hasn’t been touched by cancer,” Eric said. “But now it’s not nearly the scourge it used to be because you can sit down and talk about it when you couldn’t 30 years ago.”

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