Victory laps: Relay for Life a continued effort in fight against cancer |

Back to: News

Victory laps: Relay for Life a continued effort in fight against cancer

“Sammy the Cancer Hammers Too, the kids team,” walks the opening lap of the 2010 Craig Relay for Life. This year's event, renamed the Yampa Valley Relay for Life, kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday at the Moffat County High School track, 900 Finley Lane.

Story at a glance:

• The 2011 Yampa Valley Relay for Life begins at 6 p.m. Friday and ends the next day at Moffat County High School.

• The event benefits the American Cancer Society.

• More than 200 people and 14 teams from Craig and Hayden are competing in this year’s Relay for Life.

• For more information, visit http://www.craigrelayfor… or call event chairman Ryan Rowley at 620-2191.

To the editor:

Survivors are the reason we participate in Relay for Life.

A survivor is anyone who has ever heard, “You have cancer.” We cordially invite all cancer survivors and caregivers in the community to attend the Relay For Life on Friday and Saturday in Craig. Check-in is at 4 p.m. Friday at Moffat County High School, at which time all survivors receive a special T-Shirt and gift for coming to the event.

Our goal is to create a world where more people survive cancer so they can celebrate another birthday. This year, more than 11 million people will be able to do that thanks to the support of millions of dedicated Relay for Life participants.

Survivors and their caregivers are the guests of honor at Relay for Life. We open the event with the Survivors Lap, during which survivors and caregivers lead the way around the track while being honored and applauded by all participants. Being part of the Survivors Lap allows survivors to celebrate what they’ve overcome while inspiring and motivating their community to fight.

Survivors are proof that cancer can be defeated. After the Survivors Lap, survivors and caregivers are invited to join a special dinner reception in their honor.

Relay For Life is also a great way for people to meet with other survivors in their own community.

If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP by Thursday. For more information, please call me at 824-4145 or 629-0190.

Kerry J. Kelly


Craig resident Kerry Kelly said her decision to contribute to the fight against cancer was a personal one. She has lost her mother and older sister to the disease.

As the survivor chairwoman for the 2011 Yampa Valley Relay for Life, Kelly is tasked with organizing the event's kickoff "survivor lap" and a dinner reception for local caregivers and cancer survivors.

"It means a lot to me because I lost my mother and my older sister to cancer," Kelly said. "We put on the dinner to honor the survivors and to show them that we don't want anyone to have to go through what they went through."

Relay for Life is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Friday at Moffat County High School, 900 Finley Lane. The event ends the next morning. Teams from Craig and Hayden are participating in the event, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

Kelly is participating in her eighth Relay for Life. She has been involved in all five in the Yampa Valley.

"Our goal is the same as the American Cancer Society's," Kelly said. "To create a world with less cancer and more birthdays."

Because of the American Cancer Society and fundraising efforts around the country, Kelly said more than 11 million people will live to see another birthday this year.

Event chairman Ryan Rowley has common ground with Kelly.

He has been involved with all five local Relay for Life events to honor the memory of his grandmother, who lost her battle with cancer in the 1990s.

"I lost my grandmother to cancer and I know a lot of people who are currently battling the disease," Rowley said. "I think it's a worthwhile cause and a good way for me to give back."

Rowley got involved with the inaugural Relay — formerly known as the Craig Relay for Life — by donating food for the event. This is his first year as chairman for the 15-hour fundraiser.

"That's common for Relays all over the country," Rowley said of the overnight event. "We only set aside one day a year for this and cancer never sleeps. That's why we go through the night."

As of today, there are more than 200 people registered to participate, encompassing 14 teams. Rowley concedes those numbers are lower than previous years.

"It's a little bit down, just like most other things that are fundraising or business oriented," Rowley said. "It'll be smaller, but we're going to put on a good show."

Rowley has organized performances by the Yampa Valley Chapter of Sweet Adelines International, a medieval reenactment group, belly dancers and flame twirlers in addition to a variety of games, such as a three-legged race and a frozen T-shirt contest.

"The frozen T-shirt contest is going to be a lot of fun," Rowley said. "We're going to take some Relay shirts, tie a bunch of knots in them and then freeze them. Whoever can get it on first is the winner."

Craig resident Stacey Mathers will sing during the Relay's Luminaria Ceremony.

Luminaria, or the illuminated bags that have become a recognizable symbol at Relays across the country, are customized with the names of victims and survivors to honor the memory of those in the community who have battled cancer.

They will be placed around the MCHS track and lit by glow sticks at 9:15 p.m. Friday, just before each name is read over a loud speaker.

"It's a pretty big and emotional part of the Relay for a lot of people," Rowley said.

Luminaria may be purchased for $5 at, or by calling Ryan Rowley at 620-2191.