Quad-County Relay For Life begins for 2009

The 2009 Quad-County Relay for Life will be held in Philip this year on June 13.

The booths, speakers and entertainers will be at the south end of Center Ave., in the bank parking lot, in Fire Hall Park and in the Philip Fire Hall. The luminaries and walking path will be on both sides of the two blocks of Center Ave.

"I've never done anything that has been so easy to get people involved," said this year's organizing chairman Marlis Doud. "Everybody volunteers! We already have some excellent co-chairs, committe chairs, team captains and team members."

Beth Smith is a co-chair. Committees are headed by Smith, Val Schulz, Crystal Martinez, Jodi Parsons, and Mike and Katie Schultz. Volunteers may join committees and teams, and can start their own team. The next large meeting for the coordination of the event will be at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, at the Senechal in Philip.

This year's theme is Bridge of Hope. So the symbols of hope, the luminaries, can be seen more clearly, the City of Philip will turn off the nearby downtown street lights during the relay.

Many aspects of this American Cancer Society fund drive will be the same as in previous years. The ACS South Dakota community relations contact person is George Larson. Doud said that he is "enthusiastic," as is everyone connected with the relay. Luminary bags, to be weighed down with sand and be lit from the inside with candles, are for sale. They can be decorated or display messages such as "In memory of ..." or "In honor of ...."

Corporate sponsors will still be put into categories, gold for donating $1,000 or more, silver for $500 or more and bronze for $250. "This year's t-shirt displaying all the sponsors' names is going to very full," said Doud. There will again be tickets sold for a framed Jon Crane picture, "Promise of Spring," up for a drawing to held March 17. There will also be an auction of donated items during the relay. Teams will be announced as gold, silver or bronze teams, depending on how much in donations each has raised by relay time.

Two things will be different this year. It will be held in June instead of September because "it's a better time for volunteers and other participants and its better weather," said Doud. The actual relay will also end at midnight, rather than be an all night relay walk.

The Relay For Life members are asking for past and future participants to help update the survivor list since the last relay. Many individuals seem to be initially reluctant to tell the world that they are a survivor of cancer. As witnessed by the steady growth of the list each year, survivors learn they are not only accepted, but have cause to proud in being a survivor. Some participants are still battling cancer.

To volunteer or to donate, call Mike and Marcia West at 859-2213 or Doud at 843-2262.