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2011 Relay for Life of Barton County off and running
new deh relay for life kickoff pic
Framed by Relay for Life balloons, attendees of the Relay for Life of Barton County kick-off event Saturday morning struggle to answer Wizard of Oz trivia. With the theme Theres no place like hope, the goal for the June event is $125,000. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

To learn more

For more information about the Relay for Life of Barton County, call chairperson Linn Hogg at 620-617-3640, Team Development Chairperson Kandi Wolf at 620-797-5651, or visit The 2011 Barton County relay will open at 6 p.m. Friday, June 10,and wrap-up at 6 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at Jack Kilby Square in downtown Great Bend.

Relay for Life of Barton County volunteers started down that yellow-brick road Saturday morning as they held their annual kick-off event.

With a "Wizard of Oz" theme and the slogan "There’s no place like hope," they mounted their 2011 cancer-fighting campaign. They gathered at the Great Bend Knights of Columbus Hall for breakfast and to mingle, many getting together for the first time since the close of the 2010 relay.

"Where there’s hope there is a home," event Chairperson Linn Hogg said, referring to the slogan’s play on words with the famous movie quote. "No one person makes this happen. It’s a team effort."

Last year’s relay, the 16th annual, ended on a high note. With a goal of $115,000, it brought in over $120,000, the first Barton County relay in a couple of years to meet its target..

"That came to $4.45 per person in Barton County," Hogg said. "This was all due, in a large part, to our wonderful teams and their year-round fundraising. She was shooting for $5 last year and will aim there again in 2011.

The local event ranked first in the per-capita raised in the American Cancer Society’s six-state High Plains Division. There are nearly 700 relays each year in this division which bring in nearly $50 million.

"We’re going to do this again," Hogg said. This remark brought applause and cheers from those in the room. This year’s goal is $125,000.

"We can accomplish with about 10 more teams involved and each team member raising ony $100 - $200 each," she said.

Although she was preaching to the choir, she said many still don’t understand how the relay, ACS and the money generated hit close to home. "A total of 40 percent of the money raised comes back to Barton County."

Looking at the 2010 local total, that comes to over $48,000.

According to Dana Kemp, Wichita-based High Plains Division communications director, in the year ending in August 2010, 205 Barton County residents received 524 services from the ACS. These include lodging, cosmetic help, travel expenses, camps, nutritional supplements, wigs and information.

However, she said, the needs never cease. An average of 168 Barton County residents are diagnosed with cancer each year.

"We just want to get everybody ready for the relay season," said Kandi Wolf, team development chairperson, during the kick-off. There were 28 teams last year and she wants more this year. She also would like to see more volunteers at the committee level as well.

A relay is a massive undertaking with hundreds of people involved. "The more we have, the easier it is," Wolf said.

A relay is an over-night event meant to symbolize a cancer patient’s journey from diagnosis to being cancer free. The 2011 Barton County relay will open at 6 p.m. Friday, June 10,and wrap-up at 6 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at Jack Kilby Square in downtown Great Bend.

This marks the 26 anniversary of Relay for Life which started in 1985 in Tacoma, Wash., and grew into a world-wide cancer-fighting effort.