ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JANET HAMOUS
They circle the track in strollers, wheelchairs, wagons and on foot.
Some wear lavender, the color for cancer survivors. Others wear pink, teal, orange,or another one of the many colors designating the type of cancer that has affected their lives.
Some are bareheaded; others wear hats or bandannas to protect tender heads that have become bald as a result of cancer treatment.
Some are young; some are old.
Some cry, some laugh and some sing.
Some run; others walk slowly, physically supported by friends and family.
But they have all come for the same reasons-to support those undergoing treatment for cancer, honor those who have lost their battle with the disease, and to celebrate those who have survived.
The Relay for Life of Marion County is an annual event to celebrate hope and survivorship and raise money for the American Cancer Society’s research and programs.
This year’s event will last from 7 p.m., July 29, to 7 a.m., July 30, at the Tabor College athletic track in Hillsboro.
Relay team members take turns walking or running laps around the track. Each team tries to keep a team member on the track throughout the 12-hour period.
“Most team members stagger their times,” said Relay for Life committee member Elaine Jantzen of Hillsboro.
People can support the teams by making cash donations or by purchasing a luminary in honor of a survivor or in memory of a friend or relative who has died.
Luminaries cost $10 and may be purchased from any team member or until 9:15 p.m. at the event.
The name of each honoree is written on a luminary sack.
“The luminaries will be placed all around the track,” Jantzen said. “One year we had as many as 1,200 luminaries.”
A luminary service will start at 10 p.m. at the track, during which the names of the honorees will be read, Jantzen said.
The evening will begin with a survivor’s lap.
The second lap is for people who have lost someone to cancer, and anyone can participate.
“It is a fun evening and a wonderful adventure,” Jantzen said.
For more information about participating in the Relay for Life or supporting the event, call Jan Helmer at 620-382-2588.