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Relay for Life organizers plan kick-off event
new deh relay for life kick off 2013 pic
Cancer survivors comfort each other during the opening ceremony for the 2-13 Relay for Life of Barton County in Great Bends Jack Kilby Square last June. The kick-off for the 2013 relay is set for Saturday. - photo by Tribune file photo

Relay for Life of Barton County organizers will hold their kick-off  for the 2013 Relay for Life  from 9-10 a.m. Saturday at the Great Bend Knights of Columbus Hall, 723 Main. The theme for this year’s event will be announced at that time.
Anyone interested in being involved in the 19th-annual Barton County cancer-fighting event is welcome to attend, said Chairperson Sheri Elsen. 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,” Elsen said. They would like to recruit new volunteers, teams and committee members, as well as get more cancer survivors involved. “Anyone is invited.”
Breakfast, provided by the K of C, will be served and door prizes will be awarded. 
“We want people to get involved and be willing to take up the fight against cancer,” Elsen said. Last year’s relay raised over $128,000 and they want to do even better this year.
The relay will take place in June Barton at the County Courthouse Square, downtown Great Bend.
This marks the 28 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.
For more information on the Barton County relay, contact Elsen at 620-786-1502, or visit the event’s Facebook page.