by Sharlene Irete
R-C People Editor
There's still a chance to be involved in Douglas County's 11th annual Relay for Life event which runs Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning.
Anyone can show up to participate. Registration begins at 3 p.m. Saturday at Lampe Park, and for $10, you receive a T-shirt and can become part of the festivities that include food, talent shows, entertainment by Controlled Burn fire dancers, carnival games and walking laps around Lampe Park.
"Walk a lap, come to the different activities, buy a luminaria bag, enjoy the ceremony and remember friends and family," said Victoria Grathwohl, Douglas Relay for Life chair. "Go just to see what it's like. There's a lot of upbeat things happening."
Relay for Life provides the opportunity to celebrate survivors, remember those who died from cancer and to donate funds to help fight it. The event gives people ways to do something proactive about cancer.
The national Relay for Life effort began in 1985 when Gordy Klatt, a doctor from Tacoma, Wash., raised money for his local American Cancer Society office by circling a track for 24 hours and a total of 83 miles. He raised $27,000 by having his friends pay $25 to run or walk a lap with him throughout the night.
The money goes to the American Cancer Society. Information online Wednesday put the Douglas tally at about $48,000 so far.
"We're about half-way there," said Grathwohl. "Most of the money comes in the day of Relay for Life. Last year our event raised about $120,000. A huge percentage goes to research, medications and treatment programs " not to administrative costs, unlike many nonprofits."
The concept of the all-night event is "Cancer doesn't sleep " why should we?" so each of the 51 teams is asked to have at least one member on the track at all times.
Grathwohl wanted to make sure people don't mistake Relay for Life as a competition race. Participants may run " but also may walk or stroll " on the first survivor lap and the following relay laps around Lampe Park. Relay's race is for the cure for cancer.
"The money we raise at Relay for Life goes toward the American Cancer Society " not to a particular form of cancer," she said.
Cancer survivors and a guest are invited to dinner after the survivor lap on Saturday at the Relay for Life event at Lampe Park. Sign in at the survivor table to receive T-shirts, gifts and a dinner ticket.
The survivor dinner features food from six restaurants: Wild Horse Saloon & Pizza Co., Saletti's, Mandarin Gourmet, David Walley's Dinner House, Indigo and the New Rancho Grande.
"This year's theme is, 'Celebrate, remember, fight back,'" said Grathwohl. "When survivors come together, at first you might feel it would be uncomfortable, but when you see 300 other survivors, it's like you have a support group."
3-5 p.m. Teams arrive/set-up
4:45 p.m. Demonstration by Northwest Martial Arts
5 p.m. Opening ceremonies
6 p.m. Survivor Lap
6:30 p.m. Survivor Dinner in the gazebo. Survivors may bring a guest.
7 p.m. Relay's Got Talent Show No. 1
8:45 p.m. Luminaria Ceremony
10 p.m. Controlled Burn fire dancers perform
10:30 p.m. Relay's Got Talent Show No. 2, wiffleball tournament, music
Midnight Movies in the gazebo
1 a.m. Fun and games at the stage
6 a.m. Sunrise Drum Circle with MeadowRock Percussion
6:30-8 a.m. Pancake breakfast
8 a.m. Closing ceremonies
The luminaria, the light of hope, is in honor of or in memory of a friend or loved one who had cancer.
Where: The luminaria ceremony begins around 8:45 p.m. Saturday in Lampe Park.
Register: Online to make a general donation or for a team, but all goes to the American Cancer Society.
or Victoria Grathwohl, 690-3746