|Sherry King and Becky Kloepfer, Dori Kelsch, Cathy Sitterud, Debbie Wilson and Sandy Phillips represent a portion of the central Utah area at a Relay for Life summit in Denver last month.|
For those of us who werenÃ¯Â¿Â½t bright enough to grab our own Kleenex, the sleeves or edges of our purple and white T-shirts would have to do.
Though most of the more than 500 people who converged on the Denver Doubletree Hotel last month had their own story that brought them to the inaugural Relay for Life Chair Summit, as with most Relay for Life gatherings, it brought tears to the eyes of even the toughest participant.
The common thread that holds this group, the Great West Division, together is their story of cancer, and it was those stories that highlighted the event.
Marking its 20th year, Relay for Life is the signature fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. However, the relay, which involves more than three million Americans, is more than just a fund-raiser. It is a celebration of life supporting those who are fighting cancer, remembering those who have lost their battle to the disease, and representing the hope that one day cancer will be eliminated.
Funds from the more than 4,000 relay events nationwide are used for community programs and services for cancer patients and their families, to assist in expanding research, and to provide greater access to cancer information.
Hundreds of volunteers and staff members from the Great West Division, comprised of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and North Dakota, attended the leadership summit, which took place Oct. 21-23 in Denver, Colo.
Central Utah representatives attending the summit included Sandy Phillips, Sevier County; Sherry King and Becky Kloepfer, Carbon County; Cathy Sitterud and Debbie Wilson, Emery County; and Dori Kelsch, ACS community relationship manager.
The three-day event was designed as an opportunity for participants to network resources and ideas, as well as enhance leadership skills in committee, team, and community development.
An awards dinner recognized the top per capita and net income winners within the division, which is credited with earning $19.8 million of the nearly $305 million raised this year through Relay for Life celebrations.
Carbon County Relay took second place in the 15,000-19,000 population division, bringing in $3.71 per capita. King and Kloepfer accepted the award on behalf of the Carbon relay.
The Great West Division, with a population of 30.3 million, averaged 65 cents per capita.