Relay for Life in Craig working toward $40,000 goal |

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Relay for Life in Craig working toward $40,000 goal

The 2010 Craig Relay for Life will take place July 16 to 17 at the Moffat County High School track. Participants have already raised about $12,000, and are working toward this year’s $40,000 goal.

Meet, donate

A Relay for Life committee meeting is scheduled for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in the conference room at The Memorial Hospital, 750 Hospital Loop. A team captain meeting is set for 7 to 8 p.m. the same night.

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Jo Beth Tupa's involvement in the Craig Relay for Life the last three years wasn't motivated by tragedy or a death in the family.

It was simply a way to help out a friend.

After watching her close friend, Shannon Samuelson, the Relay for Life chairwoman, beat leukemia, Tupa wanted to fight with her.

"It brings a lot of awareness," Tupa said of the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. "There's so much that's associated now with breast cancer that some other cancers have kind of fallen by the wayside. Because Shannon is my friend, and because it's important to her, I wanted to do the best I could to help out."

This year's Relay for Life, which is one of almost 5,000 relays nationwide, will take place July 16 and 17 at the Moffat County High School track.

Samuelson, Tupa and more than 100 other people will walk or run laps around the track for 13 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society and remember those who have succumbed to the disease.

So far, 17 teams have registered, and Samuelson said if every one of those teams participates, the event could be a success.

"That would be great, wonderful," she said. "It's not as many as I'd like, but we're plugging away and we're making money, so it's all good."

She said this year's Relay for Life is far ahead of where it was this time last year.

With nearly $12,000 already on the books, Samuelson said she hopes the event will meet its $40,000 goal.

However, if last year was any indication, it might be a difficult road ahead.

The 2009 Craig Relay for Life raised about $27,000, down from $105,000 in 2008, when Craig was third in the country for per capita donations.

Samuelson said it is difficult for a small community like Craig to sustain that level of giving every summer, especially this year during an economic recession.

"The motivation is lacking a bit, getting people back on board to donate," she said. "But, our committee that we have is amazing. They're working so hard and everybody knows what they're doing and they're what's making this happen. I'm excited and happy of where we're at right now. I'm just really proud of the community for supporting the relay again."

Each team is responsible for raising funds on its own.

Tupa, who is captain of the team "Sammy the Cancer Hammers," said it's small donations they're after. Little amounts can add up to big success, she said.

Each Monday night, a different relay team receives 25 percent of the profits from Vallarta's Restaurant.

Teams have been selling concessions and trinkets at local events and hosting barbecues and bake sales.

Tupa said the community doesn't have to reach deep into its pockets: donations of just $1 can add up.

"I wish more people would realize that the little things that they do … can really have an impact," Tupa said. "I believe that everybody in some form or fashion has been affected by cancer. I would love to see a bigger turnout this year. It's a fun event. It's really a fun night. There's a big sense of camaraderie when you're up there.

"The overall experience is both fun and fulfilling."