Relay for Life walking for cancer cure |

Relay for Life walking for cancer cure

by Maggie O'Neill

Walkers will be stepping toward a cure for cancer this weekend at the sixth annual Relay for Life in Gardnerville’s Lampe Park.

“This is going to be the largest Relay we’ve ever had,” said Marlo Weatherbee, chair of the event for the past three years. “It’s really scary, but exciting.”

Money raised over the past two months, and even at the event through group fund-raisers like $1-a-minute massages, will be given to the American Cancer Society. Lavender teddy bears and luminary bears have increased donation amounts, and some of the $50,000 fund-raising goal will return to the community to help build Carson-Tahoe Hospital’s Cancer Center in Carson City.

“The money comes back to the community in a number of ways,” said Weatherbee, an 11-year-cancer survivor, who lost her mother and mother-in law to cancer. “The American Cancer Society was there when I needed it and this is my way of giving back.”

More than 400 people are expected to take turns walking laps for more than 12 hours from Saturday night to Sunday morning, including Weatherbee, others, and one group of Carson Valley Sertoma women, led by Janet Asmann, 60.

She has 124 barely-visible stitches in her face from cancer surgeries doctors performed when they diagnosed minuscule red pimples as cancerous about two years ago. Many facial and skin surgeries later, she is different, but not so much so.

“I had a rather small battle compared with other people’s battle,” she said. “I had a hole in my face while they were digging (the cancer) all out.”

Asmann, who was selected as the torch bearer for Saturday’s Relay for Life, has guided Sertoma friends in raising more than $5,000 for the Relay, some donations coming from RE/Max, Merrill Construction and Western Title. She and Sertoma have raised funds at the Lampe Park farmer’s markets, a tractor pull and business to business.

“Sertoma is a wonderful group, and happen to be my closest family outside my blood family,” she said. “I asked them if they wanted to do this and they said yes.”

Asmann’s cancer came on the heels of a devastating battle with liver disease, with a priest ever giving her Last Rites. The Relay for Life provides hope and help for other people, she said.

“I believe in helping people. Without help, I would never have made it. Therefore, I want to help other people.”

Doctors will check her leg and face this month for cancer, and continually monitor benign tumors found in her liver found after her liver-disease diagnosis.

“Well, I’ll tell you attitude is the only way you can get cured,” she said.

At the Sertoma tent at the Relay for Life on Saturday, Body Language employees will be outside the tent giving massages for $1 a minute. All money raised from the massages will go to the American Cancer Society.

Copies of Friday’s Record-Courier will also be available at The Record-Courier tent. Donations for the newspapers will be given to the American Cancer Society.

The Relay for Life begins at 6 p.m. at Lampe Park with a lap led by cancer survivors. Anyone who wants to join can still come, pay a $10 registration fee, and walk anywhere from an hour to all night.

Different teams of people will keep walking through the night around a track, which will be lit up by luminary bags in honor of survivors or in memories of deceased.

Registrants can participate in a 7 a.m. pancake breakfast hosted at the park by the Lion’s Club. A closing ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m.

“We all come (to the Relay) with our own feelings, I think,” Asmann said. “Several of my team members have lost loved ones to cancer, and several have had cancer themselves, and several have people who have survived.”

— Maggie O’Neill can be reached at mo’ or 782-5121, ext. 214.