Light up the night

There’s something pretty awe-inspiring about seeing hundreds of lighted luminary bags lining a track on a picture-perfect mid-June evening — especially when each of those bags contains the name of a person who has died from cancer or who beat the odds to live another day.

This Friday marks the 14th annual Relay For Life event in Nobles County. It is a time for us, as Relay team members, to celebrate cancer survivors, honor those now undergoing treatment and remember those who fought the fight.

Who can attend the Relay For Life? Anyone. You don’t need to be a cancer survivor. You don’t even need to know someone who has or had cancer.

A year ago, a newcomer to the Daily Globe Relay For Life team wasn’t quite sure what to expect about the Relay. She had anticipated it to be a somber event, but in reality the Relay is more of a celebration.

Granted, the Relay isn’t on par with bigger community festivals like last weekend’s Regatta or September’s King Turkey Day, but it does good things for the community, and more importantly, for its residents.

In 2009, the Nobles County Relay For Life raised more than $93,000 for the American Cancer Society to fund research, education and advocacy. Lest you think that money goes out of state and doesn’t help local people, here is an interesting statistic: In 2009, $6.9 million in grant funding for cancer research was awarded to Rochester and the University of Minnesota — more money than what was raised in all of the Relays conducted around the state last year.

The money we are raising is helping to save lives. It is that simple.

We raise money by selling luminaries and butterflies, seeking sponsorships from businesses and individuals across the county, collecting donations for the silent auction and, throughout the night of the Relay, selling food or other trinkets at our campsites to help meet our fundraising goal.

We’d love to be able to surpass last year’s record-setting Relay, and we’d love to see more people from the community come out and support this worthwhile cause.

Just to entice you, JBS/Local Union 1161 will be selling grilled pork chops on a stick throughout the evening as a fundraiser at its campsite; First State Bank Southwest will sell cupcakes and bead necklaces; Jennifer’s Family is selling cheesy turkey sandwiches, pop, water, glow jewelry and yo-yo water balloons; the Farley’s & Sathers team will offer walking tacos in the evening and rolls, coffee cake and juice in the morning; Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington’s team is selling hot dogs, chips and a beverage; the Daily Globe team is making fresh fruit cups to sell; Bonnie’s Walkers will have angel food cake and strawberries for sale; and Bedford Technology will sell necklaces and can coozies. All proceeds from each of the campsite fundraisers go to the American Cancer Society.

In addition to all of the food options, Jennifer’s Team will have a bounce house for children to play in, and the AOK Club is planning a Guitar Hero competition and then a movie or two on its big screen to help everyone stay awake overnight.

Team campsites, the Silent Auction and Smart Shop open to the public at 5 p.m. on Friday, and this year’s Relay For Life continues until 7 a.m. Saturday.

Please come and spend an hour, an evening or the overnight with us. Our theme this year is celebrating a world with more birthdays.

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