Community fights back against cancer

People who have first-hand experience with cancer play a big role at the annual Clay County Relay For Life. Doors open at noon on Sunday, Jan. 31, at the DakotaDome. Teams and fund-raisers from throughout the community will sign in and prepare for the afternoon event from 1 to 6 p.m.

At 1 p.m., the Relay begins with a lap around the track by community members who have battled cancer. Each carries a linked paper chain with each link representing a year of survival. To participate in the survivor activities, call Barb Kronaizl, 624-8929.

After survivors complete the first lap, everyone joins in the Relay, to show support for those who have fought and are fighting cancer, and learn about warning signs and prevention through information stops around the track.

The theme for this year's event is "Make Cancer a Thing of the Past." ?The Clay County Chapter of the American Cancer Society and the USD Chapter of Colleges Against Cancer sponsor the event to promote awareness, encourage healthy lifestyles, share information and raise funds to fight the many forms of cancer.

Here's how you can help. Community members, from USD and throughout the county, form teams of up to 15 people to raise money and walk around the track during the event and set up a decorated team "campsite" where team members will rest when they're not walking. Teams pre-register by calling Wess Pravecek at 624-5352. Each team member donates $10 to participate and raises more dollars from family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues, as well. Team members get T-shirts and participate by making sure someone from their team is always on the track. Teams and individuals may register at the event, but T-shirts may not be available.

Prizes are awarded for the team and individual who collect the most in donations. The best decorated campsite wins a prize, too.

"The event features something new this year," according to Community Chair Wess Pravecek. "There will be drawings for big ticket items like a 19-inch HDTV, a hotel getaway, a Sony Walkman and more. Participants get one entry for every $50 they raise. So, the more money you raise, the more chances you have to win!"

You have another way to honor those who have battled cancer. The Relay will sell "luminarias" before and during the event. For a $5 donation, a decorated white bag that bears the name of a cancer survivor or someone who died of cancer will be placed along the track. Participants can read the names as they walk around the track, and the names on all the luminarias will be read during the Relay. Donors can decorate the bags themselves with the name, and drawings and photos if they wish, or have Relay volunteers do the decorations.
And, make sure to thank the major sponsors as the event nears. They include Walmart and Classic Hits 106.3/Sports Radio 15.70 AM – The Ticket at the $1,000 level; the Broadcaster/Plain Talk, Vermillion Medical Clinic, Randy Hammer, and Sanford Health in Vermillion at the $500 level; and the Vermillion Civic Council and Hy-Vee Vermillion at the $250 level. To join them, call Wess Pravecek at 624-5352.
Here's how you participate.
• To form a TEAM and get a team packet, contact Wess Pravecek, 605-624-5352. ?
• To participate in the SURVIVOR activities, call Barb Kronaizl, 624-8929. ?
• You may purchase LUMINARIAS before the Relay: The Nook 'N Cranny, the Civic Council store and the Vermillion Beauty Shop, all in downtown Vermillion; or the Vermillion Federal Credit Union at Cherry and Dakota. They also will be sold at the Relay.
• For more information, go to
The money raised is used by the American Cancer Society for research, public education and help for cancer patients and their families.
"If we all work together, we can help make our theme come true – Make Cancer a Thing of the Past," Pravecek said.

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