Relay For Life of SE Nebraska Raised Thousands of Dollars to Fight Cancer
The threat of inclement weather moved the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Southeast Nebraska to Auburn High School. However, the rain stayed away and the event on Friday-Saturday, June 4-5, attracted a good turnout.
There were 19 teams and 140 participants. Teams ranged from two to 15 members each. Participants raised money to support American Cancer Society research, education, advocacy and patient service programs.
The 15th annual event was expanded to cover Nemaha, Richardson and Johnson counties. At the entrance to the school were flags which represented persons affected by cancer: more than 38 in Nemaha County; 69 in Richardson County; 31 in Johnson County and 8,626 statewide.
“This is such a wonderful event for Nemaha County,” said Dr. Michael Zaruba, who served as master of ceremonies and welcomed all who attended the opening ceremony at the high school commons area.
Dr. Zaruba thanked the survivors for fighting through and thanked the caregivers for helping the survivors.
“Cancer is a tough thing. We deal with it every day. It’s nice to see grassroots events to find a cure for cancer. Research is expensive. These events go a long way to help further medical research,” he said.
Members of American Legion Post No. 23, Auburn, served as color guard. Spirit Wave sang the national anthem. Members were: Debbie Meyer, Marty Fattig, Dave Fletcher and Teresa Fletcher. They were accompanied by Laura Schulte. The survivor lap, caregiver lap, team lap and committee lap followed. The laps were accompanied by musical selections which reflected the event.
There were some outdoor activities, including a hot air balloon, display of the luminaries and the Suck it up For Cancer Challenge by Team Ariens.
Joni Falk won the best creative cake in the Relay For Cakes contest. She entered a cake in the shape of a birthday hat decorated with survivors. Relay For Cakes will become an annual part of Relay for Life, Michelle Dixon said. Cakes entered were served at the Celebrate Survivors reception.
Before the Celebrate Survivors reception, Mike Allen sang a special song, “Just Keep Me Safe in the Palm of Your Hand.” Allen had brain surgery four years ago. He said that he wrote the lyrics to the song, which he sent to a cousin in Oklahoma.
“I’m glad to be here as a survivor. I feel great. I feel like it’s a privilege to share it with you,” Allen said.
There were silent and live auctions, games, musical challenges, the disk jockey service Finch on the Run, a luminary ceremony and a closing ceremony. Dick Stich helped with the live auction. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts also assisted.
Nemaha County Hospital also had a team in the relay, in addition to the teams mentioned in last week’s issue.
2010 team captains were: Michelle Dixon, Kelsey Dixon, Laura Osborne, Pam Adams, Brandon Petet, Michelle Custer, Adam Debilzan, Ben Dixon, Traci Hudson, Jackie Obermeyer, Michelle Eltiste, Chelsey Mowen, Lea Allen, Jean Volker, Anna Coatney, Shirley Drake, Amanda Ackley, Sherry Black, Capri Kiekel, Eldon Russell and Melissa McLaughlin.
2010 Relay For Life Committee members were: Darren Wright, Daryl and Jackie Obermeyer, Laura Osborne, Pam Adams, Kathryn Keithley, Kelsey Dixon, Brandon Petet, Sheril Petet, Joni Falk, Jeni Adams, Eric Adams, Lee Ann Allen, Kyle Reiken, Angie Alexander, Melissa McLaughlin, Michelle Custer, Michelle Dixon and Joe Casey. Randall Jantzen, community manager, was the participating American Cancer Society staff partner.