Community will unite Feb. 22 to fight cancer

Community will unite Feb. 22 to fight cancer Hundreds of people from the Clay County area will gather on Sunday, Feb. 22, to support a cause � the fight against cancer.

"When it comes to the Relay For Life, we are one community. The townspeople, the university, the rural areas, children and students and adults and seniors � they all recognize the need," said Janet Mount, chair of this year's DakotaDome Relay for Life. "You're all asked to help on Sunday, Feb. 22, from noon to 6 p.m."

The relay, an event for the American Cancer Society, is a celebration of life and of community and it serves several

purposes: cancer education, fellowship, and fund raising for education, research and aid to patients and their families.

The event has been organized by community members and the students of the USD Special Events Class taught by Dr. Patrick Wempe.

The 53 students in the class not only learn about special events, but also gain hands-on experience. Each of the students has worked on a committee headed by someone from the community to prepare part of the relay.

"It's pretty inspiring," said Wess Pravecek, chair of the Corporate Sponsorship Committee. "This event becomes more than just a class. These students come to realize the importance of the cause itself. In the long run, working on the relay gives them a hint of true citizenship: that being engaged in the life of their community is far more satisfactory than just living there."

Highlights include:

* The Survivors' Victory Lap, led this year by Barbara Johnson, a cancer survivor and wife of Sen. Tim Johnson.

* The luminaria circle of light, featuring white bags bearing the names of cancer survivors and those who have died.

* Fund-raising teams who will walk the track as part of their commitment to the cause.

* Entertainment, including rides in vintage fire trucks, music and more.

Fund raising is still under way for relay teams, team members, major sponsors and luminarias. If you don't have a team and want to participate, you can contact Bruce Fischbach, at 677-5960 (days) or 624-9484 (weekends and evenings). Or, make a $20 donation at the door and you will be assigned to a team.

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

11:30 a.m. � Doors open.

Noon � Lunch donated by the community.

12:30 p.m. � Invocation; USD ROTC Color Guard; national anthem by Erin Conlon; Barbara Johnson remarks; Survivors' victory lap.

12:45 to 6 p.m. � Team members walk the track; enjoy entertainment, including music and dance groups; learn about cancer via educational displays; and win door prizes.

4:30 � Reading of the luminaria names.


The survivors' victory lap around the DakotaDome indoor track officially opens the relay with a message of hope. Cancer survivors who want to participate in the victory lap may call Survivor Chair Joanne Tieman at 624-9558 or can sign up by arriving at the relay between 11:30 a.m. and noon.


To honor a cancer survivor or remember someone who died of cancer with a luminaria, you donate $5. Contact Diane Duin, luminaria chair for the relay, at 624-2290; or stop by these Vermillion businesses: Jones' Food Center, Ace Hardware, Vermillion Federal Credit Union or First Dakota Bank; or make a donation through a team.

A donor can take the luminaria home and write the name and even put on decorations, and then return the bag to a participating business or bring it to the relay; or donors can provide the information and have the Luminaria Committee decorate the luminarias. Luminaria donations can be made at the Relay, as well.


To date, media sponsors ($1,000) include the Broadcaster/Plain Talk and Hot Mix 106.3 KVHT-FM. Major corporate sponsors ($500) include Clay County Abstract & Title Company, Civic Council and the Vermillion Medical Clinic. Corporate sponsors ($250) are the Vermillion Federal Credit Union, Roy and Betsy Mortinsen, Rasmussen Motors, Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center, Houska Dental Clinic, Alkota Cleaning Systems, Wells Fargo and Phase II Solutions.

Call Wess Pravecek to make a donation at 677-6418 (days) or 624-5352 (evenings and weekends).

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