DakotaDome Relay for Life is Feb. 22

DakotaDome Relay for Life is Feb. 22 Dylan Fischbach is 8 years old. He's also a cancer survivor.

The Vermillion boy and his family will be taking a leadership role in this year's DakotaDome Relay For Life. The annual fund raiser will take place Sunday, Feb. 22, from noon to 6 p.m.

For several years, the

Fischbach family, and the people who have helped them during Dylan's traumatic battle with cancer, have participated in the Clay County-area Relay For Life by fielding a fund-raising team � Dylan's Dozen.

This year, everyone will be on Dylan's team, in a way. Dylan is the team recruitment chair for the relay, and people who want to organize teams should call his dad, Bruce

Fischbach, at 677-5960 (days) or 624-9484 (weekends and evenings) for materials and help in getting organized to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

The annual event features food, fun, friendship and fund raising. Money raised goes toward research, education and services for cancer patients and families.

"Dylan, at 8 years old, is a reminder to us that cancer affects people of all ages," said Janet Mount, chair of this year's Relay For Life at the DakotaDome.

Dylan was just 10 months old when he was first diagnosed with cancer. One day, Bruce Fischbach said, the daycare called to tell them that Dylan cried whenever his leg was touched. They feared he had a broken bone. X-rays were negative, and numerous tests revealed no answer. Finally, Bruce said, they took Dylan to the Mayo Clinic. Doctors found cancer behind his right knee.

Surprisingly, Bruce said that wasn't the really devastating time for the family.

"We thought, 'well, we'll just have to take care of it and work on rehabilitation.'" They spent a year on chemotherapy and surgeries.

Then, the real devastation came.

"We thought we had won the battle," Bruce said. But during routine testing, doctors found the cancer had returned. At age 2, Dylan lost his right leg. Long months of treatment followed � chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant � and long months of rehab.

Today, Dylan is "absolutely marvelous," his dad said. "He's extremely active. He runs, he's in sports: baseball, soccer, football. He's a terror at the swimming pool."

But, best of all, Bruce said, "We're most proud we're cancer-free."

Dylan says the relay is "more fun with lots of people," so he wants lots of teams to participate.

The DakotaDome Relay For Life is open to all of Clay County and neighboring communities. The event is organized by community members and the USD Special Events Class taught by Patrick Wempe.

Organize a team:

Prizes and honors for top fund raisers.

Team fee $150, plus members go out into the community to raise even more funds. Prizes for top individual fund raiser, top fund-raising team, and best team campsite (resting area) reflecting team's personal interpretation of the theme "The Journey."

Call Bruce Fischbach: 677-5960 (days) 624-9484 (evenings/weekends).

Be a corporate sponsor:

Donate $250 or more, support a good cause and earn the thanks of community members. Your contribution will be honored with a sign for your window and posters at the relay plus recognition in relay publicity. Call Wess Pravecek at 677-6418 or 624-5352.

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