Magic will transform Veterans Memorial Park on Friday, June 22 for the 24th Annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Dawson County. This year’s theme of “A Cure Is A Magical Thing” promises fun entertainment, inspirational speakers and traditional ceremonies all with the goal to make cancer disappear. The event participants and corporate sponsors have raised a total of $30,400 so far.
Each dollar raised is used to fight cancer, said Reuben Hoff, Event Leadership Team Chairperson of Cozad. But that is just part of Relay For Life. The real magic is a personal connection to this amazing event, he said.
Relay For Life draws out different emotions for each participant. Cancer survivors celebrate their victory over cancer with happy tears. Many participants remember those they have lost to cancer and others are there to fight back against a disease that takes too many lives and leaves sadness and heartache behind.
“Relay empowers all of us. We may not be scientists or doctors, but each one of us right here in Dawson County can have an impact on research, education and serving cancer patients through the American Cancer Society. The dollar you give could buy the test tube that holds a cure,” Hoff said.
Survivors and caregivers kickoff the six-hour event with the Lap of Hope at 6 p.m. All cancer survivors are encouraged to arrive early to register at the survivor booth between 5 - 5:30 p.m. The 2018 honorary chairpersons are survivors Susan Williams of Gothenburg, Reuben Hoff and Joyce Olds, both of Cozad. Also leading the lap this year is Dawson County’s first honorary previvor, Melissa BeDunnah of Lexington.
The lap will begin on the northeast corner of the park. Three of the four streets around the park will be closed to traffic after 5 p.m. Handicapped parking will be available.
As survivors and their caregivers finish the lap, the Cozad Community Hospital will serve a meal. Those walking the first lap will be first to go through the line and the remainder of the meal will be first come, first serve until food is gone. A free-will donation will be accepted.
Sponsors of this year’s pork sandwich meal include New Life Interiors, Shane Schutte, Peterson’s Supermarket, Plum Creek Market, Culligan, Lexington Regional Health Center, People First of Dawson County, Family Dollar and Dollar General.
The Silent Auction from 6 – 8:30 p.m. will be near the covered picnic area at the park. Several Relay Baskets will be available to bid on with other items like a horseshoe boot rack, Survivor purple toy tractor, auto detail and much more. Bidders must be present at the end of the silent auction to pay for and claim their items.
A Magical Luminaria Gold Star Bag will be sold for $15. Other luminaria will be available for $10. Both will honor a cancer survivor or remember a loved one lost to cancer.
Team walking starts after the survivor lap. Throughout the event, deejay Steve Clouatre of North Platte and emcee Theresa Bubak of Cozad return for a repeat performance of good, music, fun banter and strong Relay spirit. Door prizes will be given throughout the evening. Each person who attends will receive one free ticket.
Activities, games and fundraisers will be conducted throughout the evening including a Hogwarts Scavenger Hunt, Magic Makeover and others.
Nan Hynes, ACS CAN volunteer of North Platte, will be selling luminaria and sharing information about the Lights Of Hope event in Washington DC in September. ACS CAN is the nation’s leading cancer advocacy organization that is working every day to make cancer issues a national priority.
The night concludes with a touching Luminaria Ceremony starting at dusk. The 1,500 or more luminaria candles will be lit to illuminate the way for Relay walkers until midnight.
“Cancer doesn’t stop and neither do we,” Hoff said. “Dawson County has great support from all of the communities and the business leaders both with corporate sponsorships and in-kind donations.”
Organizers request no tobacco products and no pets (for their safety as well as for Relay participants).
For more information, contact Hoff at 308-325-1314.