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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday, June 4, 2004


Walking all night promotes good cause

Relay for Life goes long this weekend

Express Staff Writer

The Wood River Relay for Life celebrates its 10th annual walk today, beginning at 5:30 p.m. with a barbecue and continuing with ceremonies and continual walking through the night and ending Saturday at 10 a.m. The walk supports the American Cancer Society. It is being held this year at the Wood River High Schoolís track, on the Phil Homer Field in Hailey,

"We felt 10 years ago that we could organize an event here that the community would be receptive to," event Coordinator Lorie Hayes said.

Jorge and Christina Leos, along with Hailey Mayor Susan McBryant check out the lumieres with twins Fabian and Dominic at last yearís Relay for Life. Express photo by Dana DuGan

An overnight event, Relay For Life celebrates cancer survivors and honors those lost, while raising money for research and programs. During the event, teams of people gather, put up tents, have mini parties while keeping at least one team member on the track at all times.

Relay For Life began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon and avid runner, spent 24-hours walking and running around a track in Tacoma, Wash. He clocked 83 miles, raising $27,000 to support the American Cancer Society. The following year, 220 supporters on 19 teams joined Klatt in this overnight event. Over the last 18 years, Relay For Life has spread to 3,800 communities in the United States and eight foreign countries.

Involved since the eventís inception, Hayes has been the coordinator the past five or six years, she said. This year is her last in that position. Hayes is plenty busy with four children, ages 2, 7, 11 and 12.

"I figure itís time to put someone new in there with new ideas, she said. "There are times itís a good thing to hand the reins over to someone with new ideas."

The walk takes 15 hours, while in some big cities it can be as long as 24 hours. The teams have between 10 and 12 people, with each member walking for about an hour. Cancer survivors are invited to do the first lap.

Among the activities going on through the night is a drawing for a handprint quilt, which Hayes found time to make herself. The handprints are from cancer survivors who have spoken at the lumiere ceremony held at 10 p.m. each year. Hailey Mayor Susan McBryant will announce the names of each survivor.

This year the speaker is Wood River Middle School sixth-grade teacher Sheila Naghsh. Speakers over the past 10 years have included Laura Evens, Wendy Jaquet, Maggie Burbridge, Scott Creighton, Rob Cronin, Judy Kildare, Marguerite Sowersby, Carol Harlig and Karen Fisher.

Lumiere bags grace the infield of the track. Last year there were 1,200 bags. "Itís a phenomenal event," Hayes said. "You see all those lights, itís just breathtaking."

As they did for the first relay in 1994, the Boulder Brothers will entertain.

"There is also karaoke. And even if your not walking thereís tons of stuff to do," she continued. "Itís a community event, a celebration of life honoring those who are survivors and those weíve lost."

There is also a silent auction with great items such as an amethyst and diamond pennant donated by Christopher & Co., Smith Sport Optics gift packages and a 10-year anniversary plate made by Lynn Holt of Local Color.

The tent cities will be judged according to this yearís theme "Cancer Control."

"We have gotten a lot of support in this community," Hayes said. "Itís all so amazing."


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