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Relay celebrates a decade of hope in Phillips County PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

Phillips County’s 10th Annual Relay For Life was a walk to remember as community members, cancer survivors and Relay participants all came together in support of the American Cancer Society.

The “Seasons of Hope” event kicked off Friday evening, June 10 at Phillips County Courthouse Square in Holyoke, concluding Saturday morning, June 11 with the brave folks who stayed all night.

In addition to making hundreds of laps around the courthouse last weekend, team members dedicated themselves to raising money throughout the year. The funds, which will go to cancer research, totaled around $28,000 at the end of the 2011 event.

Friday night, co-chairs Steve Young and Doug Kamery with emcee Marcia Dalton welcomed survivors, teams, volunteers and guests to this year’s Relay, thanking everyone for their involvement in the annual county event.

Mel and Betty Ocken were recognized for their vision and hard work 10 years ago at the inaugural 2002 Phillips County Relay For Life. The couple gave a history of the event, noting it has raised $400,000 in the last decade.

Following the survivor lap Friday night, June 10, cancer survivors released balloons into the air as
they celebrated their ownabattles with cancer. The 10th annual Phillips County Relay For Life
raised $28,000.              —Photo by Photography By C Lee

Relay For Life is a chance to celebrate with cancer survivors as well as remember those who have lost the battle.

Cancer survivors and their caregivers, led by John Durbin and daughter Brittany Durbin, made their way around the track in a “Victory Lap.” Friends and Relay participants lined the walkway, cheering on survivors and showing their encouragement.

Later in the evening, the track was lit with dozens of luminaria, a way for participants to remember those affected by cancer. Names were read in memory of those lost to cancer and in honor of cancer survivors, followed by a silent memory lap.

Fourteen teams camped out at the courthouse last weekend, taking advantage of a variety of activities to get them through the wee morning hours. A community supper and breakfast kept participants fed and ready to go.

Team members wore costumes and decorated their campsites, following the “Seasons of Hope” theme. Fund-raisers and campsite activities included everything from a hula-hoop contest to a tasty lemonade stand.

A couple community members sure got in the Relay spirit when Kenny Owens earned himself the chance to give Casey Blake a cake in the face for Grainland Cooperative’s “Caked” fund-raiser.

Local entertainment and games kept walkers awake and excited throughout the 11-hour walk. Teams competed in the musical chairs scavenger hunt, M&M relay, sack lunch relay, “Minute To Win It” and “Fear Factor” games, the goldfish cracker throw and the egg toss.

Taking this year’s award for top fund-raising team was Haxtun Junior Honor Society with $2,551.53. Top team fund-raising efforts per capita went to Grainland Cooperative with $2,117.03 averaging $212 per person.

Relay’s top individual fund-raiser was Steve Young who raised around $1,200 for the American Cancer Society.

Other awards this year included Best Parade Entry, Grainland Cooperative; Best Campsite, Points West Community Bank; and Best Spirit, Team Wipeout.

Preliminary team totals from the 2011 Relay For Life include: Bank of Colorado $1,911, Boards Against Cancer $1,300, Charlene’s Crew—Haxtun U.M.C. $1,170, E-Lemon-ate Cancer $220, Grainland Cooperative $2,117.03, Haxtun Lions Club $1,360, Haxtun NJHS $2,551.53, Haxtun Fleming Herald/Hofmeister Insurance $1,916.30, Melissa Memorial Hospital $1,319.75, Misty’s Marauders $400, PC Telcom $1,230, Points West Community Bank $1,174.25, Team Seaboard $1,545 and Team Wipeout $1,643.25.

Cancer survivors were the first through the food line Friday, June 10 at Phillips County’s
10th Relay For Life.       —Photo by Photography By C Lee

Mel and Betty Ocken were recognized for their hard
work at the inaugural 2002 Phillips County Relay
For Life. They gave a brief history of the event
at last weekend’s Relay.  
—Photo by Photography By C Lee

Cancer survivors John Durbin and daughter Brittany Durbin received the honor of leading the survivor
lap during the annual Relay For Life.            —Photo by Photography By C Lee

Hundreds of luminaria circled the courthouse and
stayed glowing until the end of the relay Saturday morning.
—Photo by Photography By C Lee

Casey Blake is pictured at left getting a cake in the face from Kenny Owens during Relay For Life.
Blake and Owens were the top two vote getters in Grainland’s Caked contest with Blake being the
top vote getter.               —Photo by Photography By C Lee

Logan Zeiler carefully places donuts on the forehead
of his sister Jordan during Minute to Win It games
at Relay For Life. Other games included Fear Factor,
goldfish cracker throw and egg toss.
—Photo by Photography By C Lee

Holyoke Enterprise June 16, 2011