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Relay for Life takes first steps of 2017

Relay for Life takes first steps of 2017

September 26th, 2017 by Brittany Hilderbrand in Local News

Team captain Dee Cook, left, speaks to co-chair Ashley Patterson during the Relay for Life kickoff event Monday at N.H. Scheppers Distributing Company. Relay for Life raises money for the American Cancer Society, and many participants either know someone who battled cancer, or battled cancer themselves.

Photo by Mikala Compton /News Tribune.

For people like Abby Glover, Monday's campaign kickoff for the American Cancer Society is like refilling a lifeline for those who need the support.

Eight years ago, Glover joined the organization as her mother battled uterine cancer. She said if it wasn't for the ACS, she wouldn't have known what to do or where to turn.

"This organization helped with finding programs, the screenings she needed and other resources I didn't even know existed," Glover said. "I had been on the Relay for Life teams before through my job, but once it became personal to me, I knew I needed help."

Unlike Glover, Joyce Mobley said it wasn't until six months after her husband died of skin cancer she found out about the ACS and its support. That was 18 years ago, and Mobley still participates in the relay in honor of her husband and others who lost battles with cancer.

"I wouldn't give up being involved in the Cole County Relay for Life for the world," Mobley said.

New and returning teams gathered Monday evening at N.H. Scheppers Distribution site to pick up their registration packets and mingle.

Gina Martin and Brenda Rieke, current co-chairs for the 2018 Relay for Life, are both longtime supporters and want to see the Relay continue to evolve.

Martin has been involved since the first relay in 1998, watching it grow from just a few teams to 95 in 2017. Last year, they raised $227,000 through the relay, hosting 288 survivors.

This year's theme is "Lights, Camera, Cure" and will be hosted from 6 p.m.- 2 a.m. June 1-2 at the fairgrounds. This year's fundraising goal is $235,000 and the organization hopes to register 300 survivors and 100 teams.

Martin explained with a fireworks display, a carnival setup and a family-like setting, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

They are still working on details for the upcoming Relay for Life event.

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Local businesses and agencies like the office of the State Treasurer, Department of Revenue and Phoenix Home Care were represented.

Stephanie Witthar, health care consultant at Phoenix Home Care, said connecting the dots for patients, survivors and their caregivers is what keeps her motivated to stay involved.

"What keeps me motivated, you ask? Serving, serving, serving," Witthar said. "I love serving others, connecting people with services they need and dealing with families in need."

For the past two years and three months, Witthar has supported the ACS efforts by not only being a part of her company team but on the planning committee.

Co-chair Rieke said she stays involved because she wants the researchers to find a cure to cancer.

"Every year the list of those who have died due to cancer gets longer," Rieke said. "This is what motivates me to keep fundraising for the cure."

For more information on team registration, contact Ashley Patterson at the ACS at 573-635-4839.

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