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Celebrate, remember and fight back

Nicole Inglis

Do your part

Up until 8 p.m. Friday, the Relay For Life will be selling luminaries, or white paper bags with lights in them. Luminaries can be purchased for $5 in honor or in memory of someone with cancer.

At last year’s Relay For Life, 10-year-old Emma Samuelson fell asleep in her tent.

This year, she’s going to try to stay up all night as her family and more than 100 other participants walk around the Moffat County High School track for twelve hours.

“There are lots of games and stuff,” she said. “And at 4 a.m. there is a big water balloon fight and I’m going to stay up for that.”

The third annual Relay For Life begins at 6 p.m. Friday at the MCHS track. All funds raised by the teams involved will go to the American Cancer Society.

Emma is a member of a Relay For Life team with her father and siblings. Her mother, cancer survivor Shannon Samuelson, will be on a different team. They will all take turns walking around the track until 8 a.m. Saturday in an effort to raise money for cancer research and awareness.

Event chair Ken Prescott said the week leading up to the Relay is all about coordination and preparation.

“But what makes a Relay great is the spirit,” he said. “We celebrate those who have survived cancer, remember those who have been lost and fight back against the disease. And it’s the survivors who have been fighting the most.”

Teams of eight to 15 members have been raising money at local events for the past few months. All of the hard work and community effort will pay off Friday evening as the Relay kicks off with an opening ceremony.

“Each person has to raise $100,” Emma said. “I am just over that. I raised $105.”

Emma said she has been selling SnoCones and holding bake sales at events like the Little Britches Rodeo. She is looking forward to walking with her team and participating in the wide range of games and activities planned throughout the night.

There will be a three-legged race at 3 a.m., and a water balloon toss an hour later.

Shannon Samuelson, who is in charge of the silent auction, will be spending the days leading up to the Relay packing baskets with items donated by local businesses. She said they are hoping to raise $1,000 for cancer research from the silent auction alone.

“As someone who has gone through treatment, the care that I got was so specific to the kind of cancer that I had,” she said. “That was all because of the research.”

Samuelson said she was involved with the Relay even before she was diagnosed with leukemia.

“It’s just a really nice evening,” she said. “It just brings the community together. We haven’t had as much community involvement this year as last year, but we’d really like people to come up to the high school from 6 to 10 p.m. and support the Relay. They can still donate, still bid on an item in the auction.”

Prescott said there are a total of 18 teams this year, compared with 40 that participated last year.

“We are pleased with where we’re at, especially with the economy being the way it is,” he said. “A lot of the people who donated last year just couldn’t this year. We understand that, and we’re happy to be where we are.”

He recommended that those who aren’t on a team come and see what the Relay is all about.

“Just come down,” he said. “Anybody and everybody. We’d love to have all of Craig – all of Moffat County even – be a part of the Relay. You can just walk along if you’d like, and next year, maybe you will be on a team or be a part of the committee.”

The event will start with an opening ceremony that includes the national anthem and a reception for local cancer survivors. Tanya Surbeck, a cancer survivor and a nurse at The Memorial Hospital, will give a speech.

Games, activities, a kid’s bouncing gym and live music will entertain participants and spectators alike throughout the night.

“We’re going to have a great time,” Prescott said. “We’ve done most of the work, now it’s time for the party.”

Nicole Inglis can be reached at 875-1793, or ninglis@craigdailypress.com


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