Teams, sponsors sought for relay

Teams, sponsors sought for relay Everyone is touched by it. Your father, your sister, your friend, your neighbor, you. "It" is cancer, and when the disease strikes, people who love the sufferer feel helpless and want to do something.

The Clay County Chapter of the American Cancer Society has a way: Create a team or sponsor a team for DakotaDome Relay for Life, a fund raising event to be held Feb. 26, 2000, at the DakotaDome from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"When cancer is diagnosed, people wonder 'What can we do?" said Janet Mount, co-chair of the DakotaDome Relay for Life. "This event helps remedy some of that helplessness. People feel better."

Teams composed of up to 15 people are sought. Team members will spend a portion of the event time walking or running around the track. Members may walk or run whatever part of the event time they wish, as long as at least one member from their team is on the track for the entire eight hours.

A highlight of the event is the Luminaria Program. Before and during the event people may purchase a luminaria, a paper sack on which to write the name of a person touched by cancer. The luminaria may be in memory of someone who has died or in honor of someone who is surviving the illness. The luminaria sells for $5 each and will be available in various businesses around Vermillion after the first of the year. Purchasers may decorate the bag as they wish.

The luminaria then will be placed around the DakotaDome track and a lighting ceremony will be held.

"For me, the luminaria is what it's about," said Mount, herself a cancer survivor. "We put names on the bag to signify we remember and care about one another."

Sponsorship is needed for teams. "Anyone may be a member of a team or sponsor a team," said event co-chair Wess Pravecek. "Families, churches, kids, adults, town, university, any service group can be involved. It's a positive way to help, to know we've made a difference."

Team entry fees are $150. Team sponsors may pay a partner fee and have their logo on t-shirts which will be given to all participants. Teams choose their own name, set up "campsites" by the track and generally have fun at the event. Team members can win prizes, and entertainment and activities are part of the day's events.

Organizers stress the relay is not a race. "There is no 'winner,'" says Pravecek. "We just want people to be involved, to raise public awareness." Parents may push strollers, and wheelchairs are provided for those wishing to be part of a team but unable to walk an entire lap.

"It's a lot of fun," said Dale Husby, whose family participated last year. "The kids had a blast."

To register a team or to offer sponsorship, contact Wess Pravecek at 624-5352 or 677-6418 or Janet Mount at 624-9373.

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