Posts tagged with Relay For Life

Rockin’ for Relay Starts Rockin’ Friday March 1st at 7pm


Phil's Phighters Relay for Life Team is pleased to invite everyone to attend Rockin' for Relay 2013


When: Friday, March 1st, 2013

Bidding from 7-9pm

Live Music by Landrush from 7-10pm

Where: Maceli's (1031 New Hampshire Street, Lawrence)

Facebook Event Page

This is a silent auction and live music event with over $30,000 worth of items to bid on.

Items include:

  • 4 One-Day Park Hopper Passes to Walt Disney World
  • Friday Evening Happy Hour from Howl at the Moon
  • $500 Gift Certificate from Twin Mountain Bed & Breakfast in Jackson Hole, WY
  • A COACH Purse
  • 4 Sunday Tickets to Country Stampede
  • Weekend Overnight & $50 Gift Certificate to Three Fires Steakhouse from Prairie Band Casino
  • A Sonicare Toothbrush
  • KU Items
  • Golf Packages
  • A Wine Making Starter Kit
  • Photography Packages
  • Restaurant Gift Cards
  • Caribbean Hotel Accommodations in Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados (does not include airfare or all-inclusive fee)
  • Many Handmade Items

Over 275 items to choose from. Items range in value from $5 to $750.

Visit for pictures of auction items as well as a copy of Friday night's program.

Please contact Amanda Davis at (785) 550-4848 or with questions or for more information.


Phil’s Phighters plan 3rd Annual Benefit Auction for Relay for Life - Rockin’ for Relay 2013

Phil's Phighters is pleased to announce that we are partnering with Maceli's for our 3rd Annual Benefit Auction for Relay for Life of Douglas County.

We plan to have live music throughout the event and will have much more room to move around at this new venue. A special thanks to Steve Maceli and his staff for their generosity!

What: Rockin' for Relay 2013

When: Friday, March 1st, 2013 - 7-10pm

Where: Maceli's (1031 New Hampshire Street, Lawrence, KS)

For a list of donated items and more details on the event, please visit or email

Team Relay Website -

2013 Rockin for Relay Facebook Invitation -

Facebook -

Twitter -

Etsy -

Rockin' for Relay 2013

Rockin' for Relay 2013 by Amanda Woodward Davis

[2]: http://mailto:

Reply 1 comment from Karrey Britt

Why I Relay: To support my father-in-law’s ride into the sunset

Honestly, cancer scares the crap out of me.

I have friends and coworkers who have it or have had it. I've had two uncles die from it. I've even lost a family dog to it.

It's a painful, terrifying disease. No matter what we do with our time on earth, it's something that we can't control.

Sure, there are things we can do to prevent it. Don't smoke. Stay out of the sun. Treat yourself right.

But in reality, people who don't smoke get lung cancer. People who wear sunscreen get skin cancer. People who do everything right in life get it. Even little children, barely old enough to walk and talk get it.

And that's what's so amazingly scary about this disease: The unpredictability.

Because we all want to ride into the sunset. To live a fulfilled life. To get to do as much as we desire with our time on earth.

The thing about cancer: It doesn't care.

I saw that with my two uncles (one died of stomach cancer while I was in college, the other a few years later from kidney cancer). I've seen that with friends, both young and old.

But the example that gets me every time is one that wasn't even around a year ago. No, last June, my son and I walked in Relay for Life, thinking of my uncles and friends...

But this year, I'm walking for someone new. And, honestly, the shock still hasn't worn off.

See that happy, smiling couple at the top of this page? That's my husband's mother, Sue, and her husband, Dan.

They met a few years ago and are just two peas in the pod — peas who though they met later in life, have a habit of talking about how they can't wait to grow old together. Go on motorcycle trips around the country. Have a nice time, laughing while sharing a bottle of wine. Work in their garden with the reward of grilled chicken and beer on the deck.

That picture was taken in August 2011, just days after Dan was diagnosed with cancer.

A former boxer, Dan had been dealing with the pain of a deviated septum for years. But he was being a man about it and ignoring it. Finally, Sue convinced him to finally get it fixed — she'd baby him through recovery. So, he took time off from his job and went in for what he thought would be something simple.

When he came to, his nose wasn't fixed. Instead, he was a cancer patient.

The surgeon had found cancer hiding in Dan's face. [Nasopharyngeal cancer][1]. More tests revealed it was Stage 4. They found it in his bones, his lymph nodes. Everywhere.

His only symptom? When he went up at altitude, his ears wouldn't pop.

Nasopharyngeal cancer is an extremely stealth form of the disease. Most often, it's found after a person dies. Moreover, Dan isn't even close to your typical nasopharyngeal patient. Most have an Asian background or are Epstein-Barr patients. Dan is neither.

Right away, his doctors started agressive radiation and chemotherapy. Dan took time off from his job. Sue started force-feeding him fruit smoothies and practiced coming home from work and heading straight from the shower, so worried was she about bringing home germs Dan's weakened immune system couldn't take.

The doctors didn't have many hopes for Dan making it a year. All he asked was that they buy him time. They said they might be able to give him two. So, together, Dan and Sue planned a bucket list for after his last round of chemo. They figured that if they hurried, they might be able to fit in some of the activities they wanted to do together in retirement.

Earlier this year, Dan finished his treatments and planned a few trips. His doctors were cautiously optimistic. Dan's numbers looked great, but everyone else in his support group had died.

In March, Dan posted this message on Facebook, and even though we'd already gotten a call from Sue, I about fell over when I saw it:

"Sue and I just got back from the doctor. They can't find any cancer at all! That's not to say this is over. However, they did call me their miracle child. For me it has not sank in yet. More later."

I just saw Dan a few weeks ago, and his hair is growing back — something he'd told me at Christmas he wasn't expecting to live long enough to see. He can't go back to work, so he's thrown himself into tending his large garden and working out at the gym.

As he says, this isn't over. But what's already proven is that the man is a complete and total survivor.

And I fully believe he'll get to ride into the sunset the way he wants, cancer patient or not.

[1]: later"


Fifty-year cancer survivor to walk in Relay for Life

The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life 2011 will take place this Friday evening through Saturday morning at Free State High School track, 4700 Overland Drive. Hundreds of cancer survivors, their families and their friends will remember those whose lives have been claimed by cancer. Survivors celebrate one more year of life. Stewart Grosser, a 50-year survivor of cancer, who will participate in Relay for Life for the 11th year, tells his story.

In the summer of 1961, Stewart Grosser was 22 years old and on top of the world. He’d just entered the U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., and was looking forward to a career in the Navy. He’d graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, and married the love of his life, Eileen Katsur.

A couple of weeks after starting OCS, he developed a high temperature and began coughing up blood. He became very weak, was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia.

During OCS, he had one more bout and was hospitalized. Even though he wasn’t feeling his best, he finished school at the end of November. He was home on leave when he was hit again with a fever so high that he became delirious. He was admitted to a civilian hospital, where physicians determined that he had a tumor in the bottom lobe of his right lung.

“The doctors told my wife and mother that it was malignant,” recalls Grosser, now 72. “But they didn’t tell me.”

Those were the dark days when the word “cancer” rarely crossed people’s lips. Cancer was usually an automatic death sentence. When it was referred to at all, it was called “the Big C”. Patients who had cancer often weren’t told. Families kept it a secret, because it wasn’t unusual to lose friends if you told them you had cancer.

Grosser was transferred to Philadelphia Naval Hospital, where he had the lower lobe of his lung removed. He was given temporary duty at a reserve center in Pittsburgh. “I just hung out there,” said Grosser. “They couldn’t make me active duty. I would’ve loved it, but I was pretty ill.”

One evening, he heard his wife tell her mother during a phone call that Grosser had cancer. He confronted her, and she suggested they talk to his physician.

“Your growth has come back,” his doctor told him. “You have 24 months to live.”

Grosser was shocked. And dismayed. His wife was expecting their first child.

“What are my options?” Grosser asked.

“We’d just like to send you home,” his physician answered. “Home to die” was the unspoken message.

“What about surgery?” Grosser pressed.

“We can try.”

Grosser had never touched a cigarette in his life. Looking back, however, he can see the factors that may have contributed to his lung cancer. “Cigarettes were everywhere,” he says. “In the movies, in restaurants. My mother and dad were smokers. I grew up with smoke everywhere. In Pittsburgh, we lived closed to a steel mill. It was a dirty town.”

The second surgery, to remove his entire right lung, was done at St. Albans Naval Hospital in New York City (it’s now a Veterans Administration facility). After the operation, Grosser was put in a ward with other cancer patients to begin rehabilitation. He had to regain use of his shoulder, arm and hand while muscles cut for the surgery were mending.

“A lot of my roommates were cancer people,” he recalls. “A lot of them went very fast. They didn’t have any dignity. Their families, their friends stopped coming. They died in the same hospital bed they’d been in the whole time. They cried, they screamed in pain. That was always upsetting to me.“

To give each other moral support, the patients of the cancer ward watched each other’s surgeries from seats that overlooked the operating room theater. “We would go into each other’s rooms and give each other a lift,” said Grosser, “just like you see at Relay for Life.” For seven months, the people on the ward and the medical staff became his family.

When he was released from the hospital in March 1963, he was given an honorable discharge and sent home to Pittsburgh. “They didn’t think I would make it,” said Grosser. “I felt they were wrong.” A year later, the cancer had not spread. “What was in my favor was that I was young.”

Grosser started a new life. He found a sales position with a company in St. Louis and eventually ended up in Overland Park, KS, where he and his family lived for 30 years. He and his wife had four more children.

In 2002, he retired to an 80-acre farm in Eudora that he and his wife bought.

Having just one lung hasn’t stopped Grosser from living an active life. Although he can’t run a continuous mile, he nevertheless officiated at high school football games for years. Until last year, he sang in the Barbershop Chorus of Kansas City. He walks every day. He loves to joke and hang out with his card-playing friends of the Quilting Club of Lawdora, and, of course, visit his family.

Some people who have a near miss with death just walk on as if it never happened. Others take it to heart. When information emerged that cigarettes were linked to lung cancer and heart disease, Grosser became an advocate for stop-smoking policies, even visiting restaurants in Kansas City to lobby them to ban smoking from their dining rooms. He takes care of himself, doing preventive maintenance such as getting colonoscopies, and encouraging others to do so. This will be year No. 11 at Relay for Life.

“For people who have had an illness like this, when you do survive, it’s a gift. It’s a gift of life,” says Grosser. “A friend once told me: ‘You don’t even have to play the lottery, you won the biggest prize.’”

Having survived lung cancer changed him, says Grosser. Instead of being uptight, it made it easier to accept the big letdowns of life, as well as the small aggravations. “When a guy beeps his horn behind me because he thinks I’m not going fast enough, it’s no big deal,” shrugs Grosser. “I just move to the side and let him pass.”

Grosser, his wife, and some members of their large family of five children and 13 grandchildren will celebrate his 50 years of surviving the Big C at Relay for Life 2011. Opening ceremonies begin at 6:45 p.m. at the Free State High School track. The luminaria ceremony starts at 9:15 p.m., the fight back ceremony at 3 a.m. and the closing ceremony at 5:30 a.m.


2011 Relay for Life Teams - Add your team!

Join this group and click "edit this post" to add your team and members' names here! Feel free to upload a photo, too!

*TIP: Put your cursor after the latest entry and hit return.

  1. Walkie Talkie: Andi, John and more to come!
  2. Christian's Jayhawk Spirit: Amanda, Christian and more to come!
  3. Capitol Federal
  4. Sisters Huntas: Patsy, Dianne, Julie, Patty
  5. US Bank #1
  6. US Bank #2
  7. Bust'n'Buns
  8. Snorkelers: Jennifer, Erin, Megan, Katelyn, Kirsten, Mack, Connor, Tyler, Katelin, Amy, Duane, Amy, Mike, and friends! (This will be our 10th year.)
  9. SendOutCards: Lin, Wendi
  10. Wal-Mart
  11. The Antioxidants: Jana, Joanne
  12. Committee Strays
  13. Barb's Forget-me-nots (We've been together a long time.)
  14. GetJEFFed

Ready for Relay? We are!

Way to go team!

My 'We Are The World (Co.)" team raised $1,100 for Relay For Life of Douglas County, which benefits the American Cancer Society. This year, we had our first bake sale and it brought in $200.

On Sunday, team members gathered at my house to decorate a banner and luminarias, and create newspaper hats. This year's theme is "Party On! Hats Off to a Cure!"

From left, Anne Kealing, Christine Metz and Jane Stevens decorate a team banner for Relay For Life of Douglas County, which is Friday. The "We Are the World (Co.)" team members worked on a banner and luminarias Sunday afternoon at my house.

From left, Anne Kealing, Christine Metz and Jane Stevens decorate a team banner for Relay For Life of Douglas County, which is Friday. The "We Are the World (Co.)" team members worked on a banner and luminarias Sunday afternoon at my house.

Anne and Jonathan Kealing help prepare for Relay For Life of Douglas County. Anne cut out letters for a team banner on Sunday, while Jonathan found a video explaining how to make newspaper hats for the team to wear.

Anne and Jonathan Kealing help prepare for Relay For Life of Douglas County. Anne cut out letters for a team banner on Sunday, while Jonathan found a video explaining how to make newspaper hats for the team to wear.

We currently are collecting canned food that will anchor our luminarias, which will be placed around the Free State High School track. The food will be donated to area food pantries and the Lawrence Humane Society.

I hope the Lawrence community will join us at 7 p.m. Friday at the track, where cancer survivors will make the first lap to kick off the event. The luminary ceremony begins at 9 p.m.

My decorated luminaries. I can't wait to see them lined up on the track Friday.

My decorated luminaries. I can't wait to see them lined up on the track Friday.

Also, if you see someone in an orange shirt, he or she likely is a Relay For Life of Douglas County committee member. Take time to say, 'Thanks.'

These residents spend A LOT of time and energy organizing the biggest Relay event in Kansas. Christine Metz and I struggle to organize a team of 10 members, let alone an event with 83 teams.

Hats off to them!


Cancer has touched my life and so many others — that’s why I relay

Since becoming the health reporter about two years ago, I realize more than ever just HOW MANY lives cancer touches.

Sure, I knew the devastating affects of the disease, but the numbers can be hard to grasp. I mean who can really wrap their head around the fact that 1.4 million people in the United States were diagnosed with cancer in 2009, and that 13,000 of those were in Kansas?

These numbers really hit home during a Relay For Life team captain meeting that I attended last year. There were about 70 people sitting in the auditorium at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. The organizers ran through what they planned for the luminaria ceremony. They asked us to stand if we ... • were a cancer survivor.

• lost a spouse to cancer or our spouse was a survivor.

• lost a child to cancer or our child was battling cancer.

• lost a parent to cancer or our parent was battling cancer.

• lost a grandparent to cancer or our grandparent was battling cancer.

• lost a family member to cancer or our family member was battling cancer.

• lost a friend to cancer or our friend was battling cancer.

By the end of the ceremony, everyone was standing. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. I will never forget it.

Me, at age 6, with my grandparents, Lona and Elvin Britt.

Me, at age 6, with my grandparents, Lona and Elvin Britt.

I stood in recognition of my grandfather, Elvin Britt, who died at age 86 from lymphoma. He worked hard all of his life as a Kansas wheat-and-cattle farmer. He had worked in the wheatfields on 100-degree days with no air conditioning in his 70s and 80s. But, it would be cancer that took the life of my last living grandparent.

Every year, I decorate a luminaria in memory of him.

I also decorate one in memory of Susan Mozykowski.

There are no words to describe how much Susan touched my life in such a short period of time. She allowed me and photographer Nick Krug to document her journey with brain cancer. Despite the cancer's toll on her body and mind, she remained optimistic and positive — even while on hospice. She was looking forward to her new life with God.

Those two luminarias are placed along the track along with thousands of others. There’s nothing like seeing the luminarias light up the track at night.

My other favorite part of Relay is the survivor’s lap. Each year, I recognize more and more people because they’ve shared their stories with me. There’s nothing like cheering and clapping for them as they walk by. It’s a true celebration.

My participation in Relay began about five years ago, when a friend, Tina Yates, asked me to join her team.

Since then, I have become more involved.

This year, I am co-captain of the “We Are The World Company” team with Christine Metz. It is a lot of work — recruiting members, fundraising, filling out paperwork, setting up our site, etc. But, it’s also a lot of fun. We look forward to doing the Electric Slide in the late hours of the night at Relay, and sharing laughs with our co-workers.

We also believe in the cause.

The money not only goes toward programs that help those fighting cancer, it goes toward research. Hopefully, my husband, parents, sister, brother and nephews will never face what Susan and my grandfather did.

This year, 562,340 Americans are expected to die of cancer. That’s more than 1,500 people a day. Cancer accounts for nearly one in four deaths, and it’s the second most common cause of death.

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Larry Kwak — one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people In the world. Kwak, a Lawrence native, is researching cancer vaccines. Someday, he hopes the research leads to a cure for cancer.

Yes, there IS hope.


LMH radiology department seeking teams for kick ball tournament

Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s radiology department is hosting a kick ball tournament for Relay For Life of Douglas County, which benefits the American Cancer Society.

The tournament will begin at 1 p.m. June 5 at Woody Park, northeast of LMH.

Plans call for 16 teams with between seven and 10 players. The cost is $5 per player. Fees will be collected at 12:30 p.m. before the games begin. If a team wins, it advances.

The championship game is set for 4 p.m. The winners get T-shirts.

To sign up a team or for more information, contact Jericho Hilliard at 218-9824, or The deadline to sign up is May 28.


Team selling jelly as a fundraiser

Heather Lemon, of the Paulsen Relay For Life of Douglas County Team, is selling jelly to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

The jelly is $2 per jar.

Still available: grape, 15 jars; raspberry, 8 jars; apple/cherry, 25 jars; white grape, 19 jars; and mixed berry, 8 jars.

Pre-purchased jars will be available for pick up at Relay For Life, which is June 11-12 at Free State High School. Any jelly that does not sell will be available for purchase at the event.

To order jelly or for more information, contact Heather at 760-2351 or


Relay Chose Me

Tina Yates, of Lawrence, is pictured with her sisters and mother at a Relay For Life of Douglas County event. From left are: Cindi Zimmerman, Linda McCormack, a breast cancer survivor, Denise Cummings, Tina Yates, and their mother, Virginia Lipke, a breast cancer survivor.

Tina Yates, of Lawrence, is pictured with her sisters and mother at a Relay For Life of Douglas County event. From left are: Cindi Zimmerman, Linda McCormack, a breast cancer survivor, Denise Cummings, Tina Yates, and their mother, Virginia Lipke, a breast cancer survivor.

Even though it was a little over 15 years ago, I vividly remember attending my first Relay like it was just yesterday. It was the Pottowatomie County Relay For Life in Wamego, Kansas. A friend of mine, Ann Ballenger, asked me to attend the event because it was just starting up in our community and they were looking for "warm bodies" to help draw attention to the cause. She assured me that I didn't even need to collect donations because she'd do it for me. She just wanted me to come out and experience the event first hand. Little did I know, but I was about to become a Relay groupie!

I took one of my daughters, Laura, to the stadium where the event was held and we walked the track, enjoying some quality mother-daughter time. As the evening wore on we drank hot chocolate and rubbed our hands together to say warm. When it was time for the luminary ceremony we sat huddled together on the cold metal bleachers listening as the survivor names were read. I started to feel tears gather in my eyes and was overcome with emotion. Laura was fairly young and with the innocence of a child she asked me why I was crying. You see, my father-in-law, Jim, had recently been diagnosed with brain cancer and our family was still reeling from the news. Expressing my sadness to her was difficult but necessary. After our conversation we reentered the track and began to walk with a renewed energy because now we were both walking for Jim and feeling hopeful that we could make a difference.

This was my first, and only, Relay to watch from the sidelines. That night I found a cause larger than life that I could relate to and I've served on a Relay committee all but one year since then. Not only do I serve on the committee, I also captain a team and solicit donations. Everyone who knows me knows that I have a passion for Relay and that I will continue to Relay until a cure is found. I don't feel that I chose Relay but rather Relay chose me. It wasn't necessarily a conscience decision that I made, it was more like a calling that I had no control over.

I am sad to say that my father-in-law lost his battle with cancer a little over two years after his initial diagnosis. And several years later my friend, Ann, was diagnosed with cancer and battled but a short time before she lost her fight. Every day that goes by I find more and more reasons to Relay. I have several friends who are cancer survivors. My husband's uncle, Manny, is a cancer survivor. My sister-in-law, Cindy, lost her fight with ovarian cancer in February 2009. My sister, Linda, and my mother, Virginia, are both breast cancer survivors. With each new diagnosis I become more and more determined to beat this disease before it affects another person. I refuse to stand idly by and see my daughters or husband diagnosed with cancer!

I encourage everyone reading this to unite with me in the fight against cancer. It's never too late to get involved. Please attend the Relay on June 11th at the Free State High School track and you'll get it. All it takes is one time and you're hooked. You too will walk away saying, "I can't wait for Relay to roll around again next year!"


Check in on Foursquare at the Relay For Life

We're integrating a lot of social media tools into WellCommons, so we've created a Foursquare event specifically for the Relay for Life of Douglas County.

Now when you're at the Relay For Life, you can check in and let your Foursquare (and possibly your Facebook and/or Twitter networks) know that you're part of the event.

If you're unfamiliar with Foursquare, it is a social networking game based off your mobile phone. Users check in at locations via text or smart phone application to get points or fancy "badges."

Can you win anything? Not usually. But you can connect with other Foursquare users at the Relay For Life while you're checked in. It's about meeting new people in a community environment - perfect for this event!

You may even get the coveted "swarm badge" if we have 50 people check in at once. (Nerd alert!)

Want to know more? Check out Foursquare's website or leave questions in the comments.