Relay For Life of Douglas County kicks off Tuesday with sign-up event

Cancer survivors gather at the south end of the Free State High School track in preparation for the “Survivor Lap” at the Relay For Life event on Friday. The survivors take the first lap around the track to kick off the all-night relay.

Cancer survivors gather at the south end of the Free State High School track in preparation for the “Survivor Lap” at the Relay For Life event on Friday. The survivors take the first lap around the track to kick off the all-night relay.

The annual Relay For Life of Douglas County will kick off Tuesday with a sign-up party from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Free State High School’s library, 4700 Overland Drive.

Relay For Life is an annual activity-filled, overnight event that draws hundreds of participants and raises awareness about cancer and money for the American Cancer Society.

This year’s event will be from 7 p.m. June 8 to 7 a.m. June 9 at Free State High School’s track. The track will be lined with luminaries that honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and to support those fighting the disease.

The relay involves teams of participants — usually eight to 15 — who raise money between the kickoff party and the event. At the event, team members typically take turns walking around the track and camp out while activities go on throughout the night. Last year, 63 teams participated and raised $162,000.

Barb Gorman, co-chairwoman of the event, said they are kicking off the event a month earlier this year to allow more time to organize teams and raise funds. The goal is for each participant to raise at least $100.

“We want to build more teams, bring in more money and have more fun,” she said.

Gorman began participating in Relay For Life five years ago when her mother was diagnosed with leukemia. She died seven months later. In 2009, Gorman received a breast cancer diagnosis. Gorman said the cancer was detected early; she had surgery and radiation treatments.

“So far, everything is good,” she said.

Barbara Gorman, a breast cancer survivor, became co-chairman of Relay For Life of Douglas County in 2011 and the theme was "Hats Off To A Cure." She is co-chair again this year.

Barbara Gorman, a breast cancer survivor, became co-chairman of Relay For Life of Douglas County in 2011 and the theme was "Hats Off To A Cure." She is co-chair again this year.

One of the highlights at the Relay For Life event is when cancer survivors take the first lap on the track. For several years, Gorman was among those who cheered them on. Now she walks with them.

“The first time, I was still kind of numb about the whole thing because I was still in radiation. I was there but mentally I was struggling,” she said. “Last year was better. I felt like a real survivor.”

To join the cause or to learn more, attend the kickoff event. If you can’t make the event, contact Barb Gorman at 841-7723, Shelle Arnold at 841-8336 or visit relayforlife.org/douglasks.

Jessie Lanzrath, left, and Baylee Parsons, from Topeka, light luminarias during the Relay For Life event. The luminarias honor people who have fought cancer.

Jessie Lanzrath, left, and Baylee Parsons, from Topeka, light luminarias during the Relay For Life event. The luminarias honor people who have fought cancer.

Tagged: American Cancer Society, Relay For Life of Douglas County, cancer

Comments

Karrey Britt 6 years, 3 months ago

This is a great event and it's typically full of emotion. You will be clapping, cheering and shedding tears of joy for the survivors as they walk the first lap. During the luminary ceremony, there are tears of sadness for all of those who have lost their lives to cancer. But mostly, there is a lot of laughter as friends, families and neighbors visit with one another, play games, dance and walk laps around the track — all helping to fight cancer!

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