Relay for Life event sparks memories |

Relay for Life event sparks memories

by Caryn Haller
Special to The R-C
The Happy Hikers and Team Raley's walk laps on the upper track at the Douglas County Recreation Center Saturday afternoon.
Brad Coman |

Tears welled up in Cathy Keeney’s eyes as she walked the first lap in Saturday’s Relay For Life event at the Douglas County Senior & Community Center.

The Gardnerville resident walked in memory of her friend, her mother and herself.

“It’s overwhelming that I’m a survivor,” she said. “I have a second chance as a survivor with Jesus Christ as my savior and God the Father.”

Keeney was diagnosed with breast cancer on April 1, 2008. Two weeks later, she had surgery to remove the mass.

“I’ve been cancer-free since then,” she said. “Walking in Relay For Life feels like a unity of family. We all understand why we’re here. We can celebrate we’re survivors, and we can celebrate those we lost.”

Megan Hillyer, 13, decorated a luminaria bag in memory of Scott Zedlar who died of brain cancer in 2010.

“I thought if I can help people survive cancer, I can become a nurse someday,” she said of why she walks. “It’s important to save lives.”

Megan walked with her mother Daphne and grandmother Diana Zedlar, a two-time cancer survivor.

“I took care of him (Scott Zedlar) for two brain surgeries,” Diana said of her son. “He outlived what they gave him, six months. He lived 4-and-a-half years. He was a fighter.”

Walking with Team Target, Chris Fuchslin of Dayton has participated in Relay For Life for three years.

“I do it to celebrate those who have made it, and remember those who haven’t,” he said. “It brings to light that this kind of stuff happens; the battles families have to go through when someone they love has cancer.”

Team Hear Us Roar has flocked 15 houses and businesses this year to raise money for the cure.

Team members placed plastic pink flamingos on lawns and removed them or flocked someone else for a donation.

“We go after dark and put them out,” team member Sydney Folin said. “It’s so cool when we get the phone call saying, ‘We’ve just been flocked.’”

Folin has walked for a decade in memory of her mother, Marty, and nephew James Lamb Jr.

“I lost them a year apart,” Folin said. “She lost her battle in 2006, and James was 2007.”

During their fight, Folin helped take care of them.

“I slept on a rollaway in the living room, so my sister and brother-in-law could take a break,” she said. “I would do it all over again. I honor everyone going through cancer, or who has lost the battle.”

With Relay For Life being at the community center for the first time, Folin said she planned to walk one lap around Lampe Park for sentimental reasons.

“My awesome team is going to go walk with me at Lampe because for the past nine years that’s where I’ve walked, and it’s a special place for me,” she added. “It helps me reflect on what they went through.”

Sixteen teams walked the track Saturday during the 12-hour event.

“I’m so happy to see the amount of support for Relay For Life,” organizer Lena Frias said. “Together as a community we can fight back and make a difference in Douglas County.”

Donations to the American Cancer Society can be made at