Clay Co. Relay for Life to vote cancer off the island

The Clay County Relay For Life walks into action this year with a "Survivor" theme: "Get Wild for a Cure Vote Cancer Off the Island."

Head to the Dome on Jan. 30 for the Relay.

The annual American Cancer Society fundraiser is looking for help from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30, at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.

The Clay County Chapter of the American Cancer Society and the USD Chapter of Colleges Against Cancer are gearing up to promote awareness, encourage healthy lifestyles, share information and raise funds to fight the many forms of cancer.

Here's how it works: Community members and students form teams of up to 15 people to raise money and walk around the track during the event. They will receive T-shirts in recognition of their efforts.

Teams pre-register by contacting Sarah Olson at (605) 254-5046 or sarah.olson@usd.edu, or Wess Pravecek at 624-5352.

Teams may register at the event, but T-shirts may not be available.

Doors open at noon so teams can sign in, turn in money and set up a "campsite" resting area for their group at the Dome. The event gets under way at 1 p.m. as area cancer survivors walk around the track. Then, teams join in the relay for the rest of the afternoon.

Each team member donates $10 to participate and raises more money from family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues, as well. Each team member gets a Relay For Life T-shirt, and participants can even win prizes. Prizes are awarded for the team and individual with the most in donations. The best decorated "campsite" wins a prize, too.

Also, for every $50 an individual raises, he or she gets an entry into a drawing for major prizes like a hotel getaway and more.

The Relay is also a time to remember. "Luminarias" will be on sale before and during the event so those who have battled cancer can be honored.

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, drawings and photos, or have Relay volunteers do the decorations.

Here's how you participate:

To form a TEAM and get a team packet, contact Sarah Olson at (605) 254-5046 or sarah.olson@usd.edu, or Wess Pravecek at 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. Luminarias also will be sold at the Relay.

"Cancer is an issue that affects all of us," said Pravecek, community chair for the event. "So, it's up to all of us to get involved."

In 2010, an estimated 4,220 South Dakotans were diagnosed with cancer. According to American Cancer Society statistics, some 1,670 South Dakotans died of cancer last year.

The money raised is used by the American Cancer Society for research, public education and help for cancer patients and their families. Local sponsors include Sanford Vermillion, Vermillion Medical Clinic, First Bank & Trust, Classic Hits Radio and Radio 1570-AM.

For more information, go to www.relayforlife.org/USD.

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