Citizens battle cancer one step at a time 750 people participate in DakotaDome Relay for Life The coffers of the American Cancer Society are approximately $25,000 richer, thanks to the efforts of hundreds of people who participated in the DakotaDome Relay for Life Saturday. by David Lias The coffers of the American Cancer Society are approximately $25,000 richer, thanks to the efforts of hundreds of people who participated in the DakotaDome Relay for Life Saturday.
People of all ages participated in the event, which kicked off at 10 a.m. by a strong demonstration that cancer can be beaten � men, women and children who once were diagnosed with the disease and are now in remission walked together in a cancer survivors lap around the DakotaDome track.
Co-chairpersons of the event were Janet Mount and Wess Pravecek, who were inspired after participating in the first American Cancer Society Relay for Life held at the Dome last year.
�Last year, the Special Events class, which is a class at the Dome, picks a cause every year, and then they have to plan a special event for it,� Mount said. �Last year, the class picked the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.�
Mount said last year members of the USD Federal Credit Union, where she is employed, entered a team in the relay.
�Wess Pravecek was one of the people who walked with me in the relay (last year), and she said, ?You know, this is really good, but it only has university teams.� I believe just the credit union and CorTrust Bank had a team outside of the university.�
Mount said Pravecek told her that the Relay for Life could be bigger and better.
�So we decided we would go ahead and do it, so we co-chaired it,� Mount said.
Forty-five teams of local citizens walked and/or jogged on the DakotaDome track for most of the day Saturday. They were buoyed by music from the Vermillion High School Pep Band.
Also providing entertainment at the event was the University of South Dakota Dance Team. Musical selections were offered by Steve and Rebecca Giedosh, the musical group Flicker, made up of Arthur Begley, Ross Solberg and Jessica Leffers, and the musical group Scratch That, whose members are Mary and Brian Begley and Pete Murray.
�It was great,� Mount said. �Our goal this year was to try to raise $20,000, and we have surpassed that. We believe we�ve raised closer to $25,000.�
Mount said that part of the reason for relay�s success was the great effort made to �sell� the event to the Vermillion community.
�Wes and I and Elaine Larson, the relay�s team recruitment chairman, asked just about everybody we met ?Have you heard about the relay?�� Mount said.
Mount said the relay also benefited from �a ton of advertising� from local media. �And we went to service groups, different churches, we sent letters to everybody telling everybody about the relay and we followed up with phone calls. It was a lot of work.�
Each team could be made up with as many as 15 people, Mount said. The entry fee for each team was $150, and each team member was asked to raise $50.
�They could either raise the money just strictly as a donation, or they could sell luminaries for $5 each,� Mount said.
The luminaries were made of white paper sacks personally designed by community individuals to honor the memories of loved ones who died of cancer, and to celebrate friends and family members who have conquered the disease.
�At last count, there were 1,024 luminaries around the DakotaDome track,� Mount said.
Another major aspect of the relay were Smart Shops, hosted by the USD Nursing Department.
The Smart Shops included booths designed to inform the public about cancer prevention and cancer awareness. �That was just amazing,� Mount said.
She added that the USD Special Activities class was busy throughout the day hosting a variety of pastimes in the Dome.
�The Siouxland Blood Bank was there, offering blood typing,� Mount said.
Forty percent of the money raised at the event goes to the American Cancer Society�s national fund. �Part of that fund is for research,� Mount said. �We just had tons and tons of stuff going on.�
She added that people have already begun to discuss how to organize next year�s event. There are signs, Mount said, that the relay could continue to grow in coming years.
�Last year, the credit union had a team, and this year, six of my team members from last year got their own teams,� Mount said. �If that continues in any way, shape or form, we�ll be going good.�
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She noted that Gateway, which entered 14 teams, put forth a commendable effort.
Teams that participated in the relay are Alpha Phi, Anita�s Army, Cecilia�s, Civic Council, Clay County and Friends, Dylan�s Dozen, First Dakota National Bank, First UMC Youth, Fred�s Friends, Gateway � Boykin/Management, Gateway � Bean/Cyclone, Gateway � Finley/Leiting, Gateway � Schwick, Gateway � Nielsen, Gateway � Buffington, Gateway � Wood/Twite, Gateway � Hamm/Walton, Gateway � Vaillancourt, Gateway � Mandernach, Gateway � Burkhart, Gateway � Von Fischer, Gateway � Zweifel, Gateway � Fritsch, Hallie�s Comets, Last-Minute-Itis, Lewis and Clark Board of Realtors, Lions Club, Lisa�s Walkers, The Luther Center, PA Class of 2001, Pt Class of 2000, PT Class of 2001, Pi Phi Angels, Roseni Lutheran, South Dakota Public Broadcasting Couch Potatoes, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, St. Paul�s Episcopal Church, Team VHS, Theta Omega ESA, USD Federal Credit Union, USD Football, USD Head Start, USD Nursing Faculty and Sioux Valley Vermillion Care Center USD Nursing Students, Vermillion Medical Clinic and Wakonda Team.