A young dancer finds a good vantage point to watch.
Those who have been touched by cancer know that the disease never sleeps, affecting millions of Americans from every walk of life, everyday. Because of that common thread, the American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life has become one of Carbon County's biggest events bringing together the whole community to help make the dream of a cure come true.
"I have had a lot of people ask me about this year's theme," said 2012 Relay for Life Chairperson Terri Lott concerning this year's "Cancer Never Sleeps - Dream of a Cure" slogan. "They would ask me, why would we want to dream of a cure. My answer was that dreams, just like prayers, come to life everyday."
The Carbon County Senior Center hosted this year's kick off, as youth dancers from all over the Castle Valley helped relay officials sign up the event's first teams.
"We are very happy to have some new teams on the roster already this year," said Lott. "It is our hope that if we can put the new teams together with those who signed up last year we can get over 20 groups in the event."
This year's relay will take place on June 22 and 23 at the USU Eastern track behind the BDAC. The overnight event celebrates cancer survivors, honors those who have lost their battle with the disease and raises funds to assist cancer related programs and fund the search for a cure.
"This year we are planning to have a lot of education which we hope will promote prevention," explained Lott, who is chairing the event for the second straight year. "Our goals are to educate concerning prevention and work toward a cure and the only way to find a cure is to fund research."
While funds raised through the American Cancer Society do largely go to fund the search for a cure, Lott did explain that certain portions of the relay's annual gains are used for local programs.
"This last year, Castle Country Radio donated the money from their pie auction to the relay," she continued. "That money was then taken to help fund perky travel, to provide gas cards for local individuals participating in chemotherapy and to fund a scholarship program for local students effected by cancer."
According to Lott, one of the most heartbreaking and simultaneously inspiring facts she learned while working on last year's relay revolved around just how many children are affected by this disease locally.
"It was amazing to learn about the lives of young people and their journey with this disease," she said. "Some stories were so wonderful and others were completely devastating."
For those interested in the event, this year's first team captain meeting will take place on March 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Carbon School District Administrative Offices. Lott stressed the inclusive nature of the event for those who are thinking about getting involved for the first time. Relay for Life teams are typically comprised of 10 to 15 individuals. Each team member is then asked to either participate in group fundraisers or to gather $100 in donations on their own.
The Relay for Life was brought to life by Dr. Gordon Platt in 1985, it quickly gained popularity and became the ACS's signature event in 1992. Those close to the program are adamant about the fact that relay is far more than a fundraiser, celebrating hope, life and the memory of loved ones.
Community wide inclusion is vital to a successful event and according to Lott, local officials are doing everything possible to make sure as many people as possible sign up.
"The fee for registration is $100. However, all teams that register for the event before April 1 will be able to get their team in for $50," she said. "We would like the whole community to know that they are welcome and that having a team is nothing to be intimidated by. It's a great way to come together as a community over a great cause."