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Relay already
Relay for Life organizers to hold kick-off event
new deh relay for life logo web
The official logo of Relay for Life

The kick-off for the 2011 Relay for Life of Barton County is set for 9-10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Great Bend Knights of Columbus Hall, 723 Main. For more information about the, contact Kandi Wolf, team development chairperson, at 620-797-5651.

Relay for Life of Barton County organizers want folks to click their heels together three times and say "there’s no place like hope, there’s no place like hope."

The kick-off (or "click-off," as it were) for the 2011 Relay for Life will take place from 9-10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 8, at the Great Bend Knights of Columbus Hall, 723 Main. The relay will have a "Wizard of Oz" theme using the slogan "There’s no place like hope."

"No ruby slippers are required," said Team Development Chairperson Kandi Wolf. But, "I have a pair and I may very well wear them."

Anyone interested in being involved in the annual cancer-fighting event is welcome to attend. There will be Relay for Life information, team packets and a meeting schedule available, and committee members will be on hand to answer any questions.

"This is just to make people aware we are starting our relay season," Wolf said. They would like to recruit new teams and committee members, as well as get more cancer survivors involved.

Breakfast, provided by the K of C, will be served and door prizes will be awarded. There may even be some "Wizard of Oz" trivia.

However, just like the scarecrow, lion and tin man, a brain, courage and heart will be needed, event Chairperson Linn Hogg said. "We want people to get involved and be willing to take up the fight."

Last year’s relay raised over $120,000, over $4 per person in Barton County. This well exceeded the $115,000 goal. "We would like to do better this year," Hogg said.

The relay will take place in June in Jack Kilby Square, downtown Great Bend.

This marks the 26 anniversary of Relay for Life which has grown into a world-wide effort.

Since 1985, the American Cancer Society Relay For Life has grown from one man – colorectal surgeon Dr. Gordy Klatt, who walked, jogged, and ran around a track in Tacoma, Wash., for 24 hours raising money for his local American Cancer Society unit. The following year 340 supporters joined Klatt in this overnight event and Relay For Life was born.

Relays now take place in 5,000 communities in the United States and in 20 other countries around the world. More than 3.5 million people participate in the life-changing event, which has raised a total of more than $3 billion to fund the American Cancer Society’s mission.

As the largest source of nonprofit cancer research funds in the United States, the American Cancer Society, devotes more than $120 million each year to research. Currently, there are a number of researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center working on ACS grant-funded projects.

Since 1946, the society has invested approximately $3.2 billion in research. The five-year survival rate has almost tripled since 1946, and diagnosis and mortality rates have declined each year since 1990.

Barton County falls in the ACS’s High Plains Division, which covers Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Nebraska, Hawaii and Guam.