Relay for Life returns to Craig |

Relay for Life returns to Craig

Andie Tessler

— On July 19, the Moffat County Fairgrounds will play host to a gathering of some of the strongest people you will ever meet, walking side-by-side with their friends and family, celebrating survivorship and singing “Happy Birthday” as a victory song during the Relay for Life of Craig.

The celebration kicks off at 6 p.m., celebrating those who have battled cancer and those who are still fighting the good fight. Survivors will give updates on their progress, inspiring hope in those for whom recovery seems far down the road in the battle against cancer.

At 6:15 p.m., all cancer survivors at the relay will take their victory lap, moving in solidarity as they symbolically trample the disease that ravaged their bodies but couldn’t kill their spirits.

“During the afternoon, there will be games and activities for all ages, and a new addition to our event, a ‘Fight Back’ ceremony,” said Craig Local Committee Chair LeeAnn Cline. “We’re also planning to a lot more activities and booths that do more with preventative information things.”

Cline has been a Relay for Life participant since childhood, with many people in her immediate circle having been struck by the terrible disease. Instead of dwelling on the negative, she channels that energy into celebrating all the little things in life.

For many people battling cancer, the relay has become not only a chance to catch up and spend time with loved ones and members of the community. Every year of cultivating new friendships and reconnecting with fellow survivors marks one more year of triumph.

“I told my doctor, ‘Hey, you don’t know me. You don’t know my God, and I’m not going anywhere!’” survivor Tammy Piona said. “And I fought. Oh, how I fought.”

The hauntingly beautiful Luminaria Ceremony will take place as full dark descends on Craig, and decorated paper lanterns illuminate the field. Each lantern is unique, created in honor of a departed loved one or as encouragement for new patients just beginning their battle.

The morning of July 20, a closing ceremony at 6:30 a.m. raises a toast to the time, energy, love and devotion that survivors and their supporters poured forth over the years, and for the Relay for Life community that has bonded so strongly through the most adverse of times.

Andie Tessler can be reached at 970-875-1793 or

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