Join forces for Relay for Life Feb. 22 at USD DakotaDome

Join forces for Relay for Life Feb. 22 at USD DakotaDome It's time to join forces to raise money for the Relay For Life, sponsored by the Clay County Area Chapter of the American Cancer Society. The fund raiser steps up in just over a week � on Sunday, Feb. 22, noon to 6 p.m., at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.

"We raise money for this cause because cancer has touched all of us, in one way or another," said Janet Mount, chair for this year's event.

The American Cancer Society has a strong presence in Clay County. Through ACS programs in the Clay County area, patients get free rides to doctor appointments and chemo treatments. Women get access to mammograms. People who attend health events around the area learn about the signs of cancer.

Families get aid and comfort. There's even a national Web site at with vital information about types of cancer, treatments, assistance and more. Cancer treatment and prevention research sponsored by the ACS helps everyone.

The annual DakotaDome Relay For Life is a celebration of community as well as a celebration of life. Hundreds of people from the area will gather for food, fun, friendship and fund raising. The relay 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 Dr. Patrick Wempe.

Fund raising is under way now for relay teams, team members, major sponsors and luminarias.

Doors open at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22, so teams can register and set up campsites. 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 win door prizes


Barbara Brooks Johnson, a cancer survivor and wife of U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, serves as the Honorary Survivor Chair for the DakotaDome event. She will lead the survivors' march at 12:30 p.m. 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 and should arrive at the relay between 11:30 a.m. and noon.


Hundreds of white paper bags � luminarias � will circle the inside of the track. Each will bear a name � either honoring a cancer survivor or remembering someone who died of cancer. To place a luminaria at the event, 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.

On Feb. 22, near the end of the relay, the lights will be dimmed and the list of names will be read.

Relay teams

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. 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.


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, media sponsors include the Broadcaster/Plain Talk and Hot Mix 106.3 KVHT-FM. Major corporate sponsors include Clay County Abstract & Title Company, Civic Council and the Vermillion Medical Clinic. Corporate sponsors are the Vermillion Federal Credit Union, Roy and Betsy Mortinsen, Rasmussen Motors, Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center, Houska Dental Clinic and Alkota Cleaning Systems.


Community members also may make donations to the ACS by participating in the daffodil campaign. Contact your ACS representative as listed on a poster at your workplace or by calling Marlene Amundsen at 624-4115. To participate, make a donation of $7 by Monday, Feb. 16.

You will receive touch of spring during the week of March 8 when a bunch of daffodils is distributed to each donor.

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