Johnson joins Clay Co. Relay for Life

Johnson joins Clay Co. Relay for Life Barbara Brooks Johnson, wife of U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, will lead the survivors' march for the 2004 DakotaDome Relay For Life on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 12:30 p.m. The annual Clay County-area fund raiser will run from noon to 6 p.m. that day.

Johnson, a cancer survivor herself, will join the Vermillion area relay during the victory lap as survivors from around the area walk around the DakotaDome track to celebrate life and open the event.

Johnson, who has twice survived breast cancer, is a national advocate for cancer awareness and works with the Council for Congressional Families for Cancer Awareness as well as offering public service announcements and volunteering for fund-raising events.

"Cancer has no boundaries," said Janet Mount, chair of this year's Clay County event. "It affects us all, whether personally or through our families and friends."

The annual DakotaDome relay is sponsored by the Clay County-area chapter of the American Cancer Society. Traditionally, hundreds of people from the community gather for food, fun, friendship and fund raising. Money raised goes toward research, education, and services for cancer patients and families.

The relay features teams from the community, who pay a $150 fee. Members then go out into the community to raise additional funds for the cause. Each team is expected to have one member on the track during the six-hour event. In addition, teams have a chance to win prizes, including:

* Top individual fund raiser.

* Top fund-raising team.

* Best decorated campsite (team resting area) designed around the team's interpretation of the relay theme "The Journey."

Dylan Fischbach, an 8-year-old cancer survivor, is the team recruitment chair for this year's 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.

Johnson serves as the honorary survivor chair for the DakotaDome relay. Cancer survivors who want to participate in the victory lap may call

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Survivor Chair Joanne Tieman at 624-9558 and should arrive at the relay between 11:30 a.m. and noon.

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.

Doors open at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22, so teams can register, set up campsites and organize. The schedule includes:

* 11:30 a.m. � Doors open.

* Noon � Lunch donated by the community.

* 12:30 p.m. � Survivors victory lap.

* 12:45 to 6 p.m. � Team members walk the track, enjoy entertainment, learn about cancer via educational displays and more.

Businesses and organizations are invited to field teams and/or make donations to the relay for life. Call Wess Pravecek to make a donation at 677-6418 (days) or 624-5352 (evenings and weekends). Relay sponsors at the $250 and above level and businesses that donate goods or services are recognized in relay publicity and on signs at the relay.

To date, sponsors include the Broadcaster/Plain Talk and Hot Mix 106 FM as media sponsors. Major corporate sponsors include Clay County Abstract & Title Company, Civic Council and the Vermillion Medical Clinic. Corporate sponsors are the Vermillion Federal Credit Union and Roy and Betsy Mortinsen.

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