July 30, 2007

Third annual Relay for Life to take place in Delano this weekend

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

This will be the biggest Relay for Life event ever in Delano, and each year, the fundraiser for the American Cancer Society continues to grow.

“Everybody comes together for one thing,” said chairperson Ann Hayes. “Sometimes, cancer can be such a sad thing, but when people talk about the relay, people are excited about it, and people who participate know they are making a difference.”

The goal for this year’s relay, which will take place at Central Park Friday night and into Saturday morning, is to raise $110,000 to benefit the American Caner Society. Last year, Delano’s relay raised $103,000.

Each of the 29 teams that are participating this year are given a camp- site. Some of the teams conduct fundraisers at the relay at their sites, while others do their fundraising prior to the event, Hayes said. Teams will start setting up as early as noon Friday, making Central Park their home until early Saturday morning.

“Festivities start at 4 p.m.,” Hayes said, noting the Delano Lions dinner that will be served from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. A $7 donation is asked from all non-relay participants.

“The Lions donate all of their proceeds back to the relay,” Hayes said.

The opening ceremony takes place at the baseball field grandstand, where all cancer survivors are invited to have a photo taken, and do a lap.

“The honorary chair (Cindy Scherer) will speak about her experiences, and how it’s changed her life for the better,” Hayes said. Pastor Lee Hallstrom from Light of Christ in Delano will deliver an invocation, and the relay will get underway with the cancer survivors making a lap.

Following that, someone from each team needs to be walking at all times throughout the night, Hayes said.

Another big part of the annual event is the lighting of luminaries, which keep the relay path well-lit throughout the night.

As participants walk the track, there are also plenty of other events happening to keep people busy – and awake – throughout the night. The KRWC Road Show plays music throughout the event, and also features several contests and games, which keeps the event lively and upbeat.

“You hear those words ‘you have cancer,’ and you think you’re going to die,” Hayes said. “But you see these people and they’ve made it. It’s a great night.”

Four stylists from New Attitudes Salon have donated their time to cut hair for “Wigs for Kids,” which is an organization that makes wigs for children with cancer.

Weather permitting, if it’s not too dry, organizers are planning on having a bonfire with music by Matt and Mike.

The always popular bingo will be taking place from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. at the pavilion, and the midnight medallion hunt winner will receive a DVD/VCR combo. Around 5 a.m., breakfast will begin, with the closing ceremony taking place at 6:15 a.m.

Other things taking place include a dunk tank, featuring Kent Bartels Jason Dreger, Phil Kern, Kevin Max, Jennifer Brady, and Mike Barfnecht.

Gary Zitzloff of Delano has also volunteered his time and equipment to provide first aid services at the relay.

“This is our third year, and we’ve actually grown quite a bit as far as the number of teams,” said chairperson Ann Hayes.

The Relay for Life committee consists of Hayes, Bernie Kittock, Jodie Schluter, Kent Bartels, Mary Erickson, Nicky Schmidt, Cindy Scherer, Julie Strobl, Lena Gawtry, Mike Schluter, Roger Smith, Jeanie Pilarski, Kathy Nordling, Lynn Bartels, Neva Stobner, and Sam Schluter.

For more information about cancer, contact the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345, or visit www.cancer.org. For more information about Delano’s relay, visit www.acsevents.ord/relay/mn/delano, or call Hayes at (612) 597-2399.

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