Turn of events brings new meaning to Relay for Life

Last year, Marcia Schroeder of Hillsboro participated in the annual Relay for Life to support the American Cancer Society’s efforts to combat the far-reaching effects of cancer.

Schroeder intends to participate again this year. But now she’s in the midst of her own fight to beat cancer.

“I looked at the relay before as being a way to help others,” said Schroeder, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in January. “Now it’s humbling because (the fund-raiser) is directly related to the situation I’m facing now.”

The 2001 Marion County Relay for Life will be held Friday evening through Saturday morning on the Tabor College track.

“No one knows whether they’ll became a survivor,” said Schroeder, who credits her determination and stamina to her faith in God.”It’s hard to deal with. I’ve had to turn it over to the Lord. He’s the only one who can get me through.”

Schroeder, who is halfway through her chemotherapy treatment, and other cancer survivors will begin the opening event at 7 p.m. Friday by walking with balloons in the cancer survivors’ lap. The balloons, donated by Prairie Flowers of Hillsboro, will be released after completing the lap, said Elaine Jantzen, one of the event organizers.

“Any survivors who haven’t made a decision to walk are encouraged to come,” said Jantzen, who herself is a cancer survivor since 1989.

In addition to the survivors’ lap, Jantzen and event chair Jan Helmer anticipate 16 teams of walkers representing churches, businesses and other groups in Marion County who will participate in the relay. The teams range in size from four or five to 17 members.

Individual walkers can join with teams already registered, said Jantzen, adding members of teams that raise at least $75, as well as cancer survivors who participate in the opening lap, will receive T-shirts.

The event raises funds designated toward ongoing cancer research.

“With this event, we hope to raise more awareness of the American Cancer Society’s goal to find cures and treatments for cancer,” Helmer said. “Most of us know of someone affected by cancer. If everyone could donate or become involved, it sure could help.”

For more information about the activities or about participating, call Jantzen at 947-5433 or Helmer at 620-382-2588.

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