The annual Clay County Relay for Life is Sunday from noon to 6 at the DakotaDome. Your help is needed. Doors open at noon, so teams can sign in and set up their break areas (campsites). Those who don't have a team are invited to join in, as well. Each walker is asked to donate at least $10 to the American Cancer Society. The walking begins at 1 p.m. and continues until 6 p.m.
"The reason for the event is simple," said Community Chair Wess Pravecek. "Less cancer, more birthdays. We offer information on prevention and detection, honor cancer survivors and remember those who have died of cancer.
"If we can encourage people to prevent cancer through lifestyle choices, and help people survive through early detection, we've done our job. The result will be less cancer and more birthdays for those who otherwise might have succumbed."
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.
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. In addition, for every $50 an individual raises, they get an entry into a drawing for prizes like a 19-inch HDTV, a hotel getaway, a Sony Walkman and more.
At 1 p.m., the Relay begins with some inspiration: 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, ev
eryone joins in the Relay. ? The community has 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.
Luminarias may be purchased until noon Saturday before the Relay at 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.
Major sponsors of this year's event are Wal-Mart 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.
The money raised is used by the American Cancer Society for research, public education and help for cancer patients and their families.