Once again, Carbon County will join with communities worldwide helping to wage war against the indiscriminate killer that is cancer. The 2013 Relay for Life is scheduled to kick off on Feb. 13 as local volunteers, family members and survivors band together to raise funds and celebrate those who have lived to see another birthday.
"I am so honored and excited to be involved with this year's event," said 2013 Carbon County Relay for Life Chairperson Jerri Timothy. "The more I learn about Relay the more I am impressed with all the American Cancer Society (ACS) is doing."
Timothy, who recently returned from Relay training in Salt Lake, reported being "blown away" by the progress ACS is making concerning cure research and patient services.
"During training, you see all the people who are surviving and all the research. You learn why research is so valuable and all the good that is being done for patients right here in Utah," she explained.
In Carbon County, the Relay for Life has been a long time staple with new teams joining yearly. Through continued dedication and participation the event has blossomed financially.
Last year's Relay raised more than $61,000, according to 2012 chairperson Terri Lott.
Lott, who has been involved with the event for many years, will serve as sponsorship chair in 2012 after turning the reins over to Timothy.
"We had some great teams last year," she said, detailing how the large sum was collected. "We had several large corporate teams like Wal-Mart, who matched all the funds their employees were able to raise. We also always have small local teams who raise big. The individuals from St. Anthony's Church in Helper take first place in fund raising every year. They always get together over $5,000, it is simply amazing."
New fund raising ventures have also added to the event. Since 2011, Castle Country Radio decided to re-route the money raised during their annual pie auction to the relay. The Castle Valley broadcasting company raised $13,000 for the event in 2012. Schools have also become largely involved. Pinnacle's many age groups put together a $6,000 donation last year through several community events.
While the procurement of funds is central to the Relay for Life, Lott explained that the survivors provide her favorite portion of the program.
"I love the opening ceremony," she exclaimed, when asked the memories she has gathered through Relay. "I can remember my first event and I can remember watching the survivors take that first lap. It still gives me chills."
The Relay takes place over a two day period with teams camping overnight. During the Relay, team members take turns rounding the track, attempting to have someone walking for the duration. According to the ACS, having a team member on the track at all times is symbolic of the fact that cancer never sleeps and with Relay neither does the search for a cure.
During her training, Timothy was charged with picking a theme for the 2013 Carbon County event. She choose, "Hope happens, when we Relay."
"I believe in that statement," she said. "The resources available through this program continue to grow. From the Look Better, Feel Better program for women to the Reach to Recovery project provided for those coping with a diagnosis, their services continually grow and evolve. Through research, Relay is creating more birthdays."
The Carbon Relay kickoff is open to the public and those who register their teams at the event will have their registration fee waived. The Relay committee will be showing a documentary that night which details one patient's experience during their diagnosis with cancer.
For more information, visit relayforlife.org, or attend the kickoff on Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. inside the USU Eastern Jennifer Leavitt Student Center.