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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Relay for Life kicks off Friday

  • Organizers are prepping for the 12-hour Leavenworth County Relay for Life, scheduled to kick off this Friday at Richard Warren Middle School.
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  • Organizers are prepping for the 12-hour Leavenworth County Relay for Life, scheduled to kick off this Friday at Richard Warren Middle School.
    According to the event's chairperson, Debra Taylor, 57 teams have so far raised $88,000 for the American Cancer Society as part of the relay. The fundraising goal this year is $125,000.
    “We flew past our goal,” in 2012, with many donations received the night of the relay, she said. “If the event is anything like last year, we are right on target.”
    Among the participants in the relay are survivors of cancer along with their caretakers, family members, friends and supporters. Taylor said the festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday, when registration begins for the survivors' dinner that precedes the relay, beginning at 5 p.m. A car and motorcycle show, with winners voted on by survivors, is scheduled at the same time, as is a silent auction featuring sports memorabilia, Taylor said.
    The opening ceremony for the relay will begin at 6:45 p.m. at the field at Warren Middle School, 3501 New Lawrence Road in Leavenworth.
    From the time of the honorary first lap for cancer survivors at 7 p.m. to the time of the breakfast for participants and closing ceremony 12 hours later, relayers will be circling the track. But that kind of participation isn't required, Taylor said.
    “You don't have to walk, you don't have to be there all night long,” she said, addressing what she said is a common misconception.
    In fact, just being part of a cheering audience for however long can be helpful in keeping spirits up.
    “It's wonderful,” she said, speaking from experience. “Especially at 3 o'clock in the morning.”
    Other activities are also scheduled throughout the night ― a luminaria ceremony for those lost to cancer at 9:45 p.m., a “fight back” ceremony at 10:45p.m., a hula hoop contest, cake walks and belly dancers, among others, Taylor said.
    Organizers will also be hosting a tent decorating contest for those spending the night at the track in honor of what Taylor said was a milestone for the event.
    “This is Leavenworth County Relay for Life's 20th anniversary,” she said. “At the same time, it's the American Cancer Society's 100th anniversary. So this is a big one.”
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