By Jim Misunas
LARNED — Every cancer survivor has a unique story to tell.
June Fischer of Larned has survived battles with esophageal and stomach cancer that required surgeries. Five years ago, she traveled to the Mayo Clinic In Rochester, Minn., for specialized care for esophageal cancer and was given a 10 percent of surviving. Last fall, she was diagnosed with stomach cancer. She will be unable to participate in Friday’s Survivor Walk, but appreciates Relay for Life support.
“Just in five years, they’ve made terrific progress with treatment for esophageal cancer and I’m part of a long-term study that will help them,” she said. The fundraising and Relay for Life events are very important for research. I heartily support the local people who participate in Relay for Life.”
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life for Pawnee, Edwards and Stafford counties is scheduled to start Friday night at Larned High School. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m. A benefit dinner sponsored by First State Bank starts at 6 p.m. Relay for Life runs from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday.
Team captain Donna Campbell is passionate about her support for Relay for Life. Campbell is a cancer survivor who has participated in past events with her daughters Donna and Lori Skelton.
“I have learned that early detection is important,” Campbell said. “If you detect it early, you can survive.”
Luke Geer, Pawnee Valley Sports and Spine, is serving as chairman for the 2012 Relay for Life.
Some of the teams participating with team captains are Pawnee Valley Medical Campus, Kristine Engel; First State Bank, Jim White; United Methodist Church, Donna Campbell; Becky’s Believers, Rhonda Clair; Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility, Kasi Schartz; and I Touch Lives, Briana Straub.
Larned Juvenile Correctional Facility, Pawnee Valley Medical Campus and Methodist Church volunteers have all raised more than $2,000.
The Survivors Lap is an inspirational time that celebrated everyone’s survival over cancer.
The luminaria ceremony remembers those lost to cancer and honors those who have battled and won. Candles are lit and each one had the name of a person touched by cancer. Each luminary is personalized with the name, photo, message or drawing in memory or honor of a friend or loved one who has been affected by cancer. Each luminary candle represents a mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, friend or co-worker.
Participants walk a lap in silence.
Relay For Life typically continues as a fun-filled, overnight event. Teams often set up tents and sleeping bags to participate in the largest fundraising walk in the nation.
Relay For Life unites friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, and churches — people from all walks of life. Teams seek sponsorship prior to Relay, all with the goal of supporting a cure for cancer.
Debbie Winter, a Hero for Hope for the American Cancer Society, delivered a message of hope and inspiration during the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Edwards, Pawnee and Stafford counties last year.