Relay for Life celebrates survivors conquering cancer
Beginning Friday night, about 300 people will be gathering to walk, wheel and run around in circles all night for a cause. The 12th annual Leavenworth Relay for Life begins Friday at dusk at Abeles Field and continues through to sunrise Saturday.
The event is intended to raise money for the American Cancer Society, raise awareness of the disease and to celebrate the courage of its survivors. Teams raise money through donations and compete in the following four categories: most money collected per person, team with the best decorated tent, team with the most spirit, and three awards for the most laps completed.
Debbie Wright, co-organizer of the relay with her mother, Anita Samson, said she expected 30 teams to participate this year, eight more than a year ago. Each team can have up to 15 members.
Angela Resch, physician's assistant at Associates in Family Care in Lansing, said she organized a team of her colleagues for the relay because "in this business we see a lot of the good and bad, and this is a chance for us to give back to the community."
While the cause is reason enough to take part in the event, two teams from the same organization will be preceded by their reputation for competitiveness this year. The top laps award has been won for the past five years by the 705th Military Police Battalion at Fort Leavenworth. This year, the battalion has two teams, which are competing against each other in the number of laps run, as well as in raising money.
Staff Sgt. Dan Davis, captain for both teams, said there were several reasons for him and his men to participate in events like the relay. "It betters the soldiers, the community and the military as a whole," Davis said.
Also, "it's for a good cause, and it keeps you out of trouble," Davis said.
Davis' teams raised money this year through car washes on post and booths to solicit donations set up outside a training center at Fort Leavenworth.
This will have been Davis' fifth relay, and his second year as team captain.
Teams can also walk their laps, but as Davis' teams plan to run the entire time - his team averaged about 175 laps in previous years - it will probably be the runners who take home the top two laps awards.
The relay is begun with a lap by cancer survivors at dusk. Several activities take place through the night including a candle walk, a hobo fashion show, a pizza box toss, and a bad hair contest. The only rule for the relay is that at least one person from each team must be on the track throughout the event, said Wright.