Sen. Tim Johnson will lead cancer fundraiser

Sen. Tim Johnson will lead cancer fundraiser U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson will lead the way when the Clay County Area Cancer Society conducts its annual fundraiser at the Dakota Dome in Vermillion.

The Finish Line (formerly the Relay For Life) will take place from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20. Everyone is welcome.

Johnson serves as honorary chair and will participate in opening ceremonies

by leading the cancer survivors' victory walk around the track.

His personal battle with prostate cancer was announced a year ago, and he underwent successful surgery a year ago in March.

"The announcement that Sen. Johnson was facing cancer was especially poignant considering it came right after last year's fundraiser," said Janet Mount, chair for the Finish Line. The senator's wife, Barbara, who also is a cancer survivor, walked in last year's event. Sen. Johnson's diagnosis was publicly revealed the next day.

Sen. Johnson will be coming home for the event. He is a graduate of Vermillion High School and The University of South Dakota in Vermillion. He also earned a master's degree in political science and a law degree at USD.

The Finish Line features food, fun, friendship and fundraising. An important part of the annual event is education about cancer and almost every person who attends not only contributes funds, but also learns about cancer prevention and treatment.

Money raised goes toward research, education and services for cancer patients and their families.

To participate in the Finish Line, community members can form teams and raise money from family, friends, neighbors � anyone who wants to contribute. The team fee is $10 per team member.

Individuals can raise money and participate, too. The fee is $10 per person. Every person � team member or individual � who raises a total of $100 will get a T-shirt. To get more information on forming teams and raising funds, and to order your T-shirt ahead of time, call Janet Mount at 677-5214.

Top fundraisers earn prizes donated by Vermillion and Clay County businesses.

Another way to raise funds and honor those who have battled cancer is to donate $5 for a luminaria. Luminarias are lighted paper bags that bear the name of someone who has survived cancer or someone who has died from cancer.

The Finish Line will close with a reading of the names as everyone walks around the track. To donate money for luminarias, you can stop by the Vermillion Federal Credit Union, 105 E. Cherry St. Luminarias can be purchased at the event, as well.

For the first time, the Finish Line will feature a raffle, tickets $2 each or 3 for $5. The prizes are a star quilt handmade and donated by Josette Lindahl and a dropleaf end table made and donated by Ron Lindahl.

Corporate sponsors are still needed. Those who donate $250 and more will be honored via Finish Line T-shirts, posters and publicity. Call Wess Pravecek at 677-6418 for more information.

The Finish Line is sponsored by community members, the USD Special Events class of Dr. Patrick Wempe, and the Clay County American Cancer Society.

"The USD students work so hard and learn so much from working on a real fundraiser," said Mount. "In turn, the community is grateful for their support."

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