Thousands of Iowans in dozens of communities statewide are taking part in charitable walks during the next several weeks. They’re known as the Relay For Life and the walks are fundraisers for the American Cancer Society. Agency spokesman Chuck Reed says the number of relays is growing, year by year. “We have 88 events around the state,” Reed says. “That’s one more than we had last year and if you break it down, 99 counties, 88 events, just about every county has a Relay For Life.”
The events are designed with several purposes in mind, including raising money, educating people about how to reduce their risk of getting cancer, and honoring cancer survivors. “That’s always a terrific moment at a Relay For Life event, when we have that survivor lap, where they get to walk around the track and are recognized by everyone there as having beaten cancer,” Reed says. “We do celebrate survivorship.”
Participants also remember those they’ve lost to cancer, often by lighting luminaries that spell out “HOPE.” Reed says Iowa isn’t a very populous state, but we’ve distinguished ourselves in the fundraising efforts. “It’s not always the biggest counties that raise the most money,” he says. “In fact, Carroll County is the #1 Relay For Life in the country as far as raising money per capita.”
2012 Relay For Life events are being held this Friday (June 22nd), in Cass County: At the Atlantic High School, from 6-11pm; in Montgomery County, at the Red Oak High School, beginning at 6-p.m.; in Union County, at the Creston High School.
To find other events near you, or for more information, log-on to www.relayforlife.org, or call 1-800-227-2345.
(Matt Kelley-Radio Iowa/Ric Hanson-KJAN)