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'Why Do I Relay?'

Monday, July 16, 2012

Team Captains for Cherokee's Relay for Life were recently asked why they participate in the Relay for Life, which will take place this year on Friday, August 3, 2012 at Koser Spring Lake Park.

Rita Pearson
Rita Pearson, team captain for Jung's Tae Kwan Do :

"I lost my dad, Wayne Buck, to cancer on September 8, 1999. He was diagnosed the end of May, 1999. We only had three months before he was gone. I relay to raise money so that a cure will be found and others may be saved. I also relay to show support to those who are fighting the battle now. Finally, I relay because each of us can help in this fight against cancer."

Sandy Kirchner
Sandy Kirchner, team captain for Team Pilot Rock:

"I am relaying now because of my own experience of dealing with breast cancer last year and because of all the encouragement and support from my husband's coworkers at RJ Thomas Mfg. Last year about three weeks before the Relay for Life, they decided to form a team. Our team feels this is a very honorable way to salute everyone who has either won, is still fighting, or lost their battle with cancer."

Kent Lundquist
Kent Lundquist, team captain Cherokee Regional Medical Center:

"As an employee of Cherokee Regional Medical Center, it is important to actively support this cause. Many of us who work at CMRC are reminded on a daily basis of the pain and hardship cancer can cause to our patients and their families, but we also have faith that someday, through medical research, there will be cures and/or more effective treatments for this dreaded disease.

From a personal standpoint, I just lost my father to cancer. At the time of diagnosis it was suggested that he get his affairs in order because he would probably be gone within six months. Fortunately, due to the chemotherapy treatment study he was able to participate in and his never ending positive attitude, he fought the battle for 11 years...long enough to see the once experimental treatments he received now become protocol for many cancer patients. I relay to honor his legacy and urge others to never give up in their fight against cancer"

Marilyn Rupp and Marla Noble
Marilyn Rupp and Marla Noble, team captains for Team Mark Perry and Sara Stimac :

Marilyn stated, "The reason that we got involved when our brother, Mark, was diagnosed with cancer. Cancer was not new to our family. Our father, grandparents, and many other family members and friends have lost the battle to the big "C".

In 2007, we started the Team Mark Perry. Mark was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, which is cancer that affects the bone marrow. He and his wife don't live around here and there wasn't much we could do from afar, but we could raise money for research. With the help of family and friends, our first year of fundraising was successful.

The next year we had to add my daughter Sara's name to the team name. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. Last year we tried the online donation route and it worked well. Sara's sister had shared what we were doing with her work group in Chicago and Team Mark Perry and Sara Stimac were recipients of many online donations by that group.

Brother Mike and his wife, Connie, have been part of the fundraising team and Relay for Life night for three years and Brother Mark and wife, Ann have joined us for the last two years. It is almost a mini family reunion.

I had always heard about the Relay for Life, but only when I went, saw, and heard the survivors get up in front of the crowd, did I FEEL the courage, perseverance, and HOPE. Now we honor many of our family and friends by going to the ceremony and looking at all the luminaries.

My daughter, Sara, has been in remission for four years and brother Mark continues his battle, but with much perseverance and fortitude. They are two mighty warriors."

Marla added, "Cancer touches many hearts. Everyone relates to cancer in his or her families and among friends. We wouldn't be able to raise what we do each year without the generosity of those caring folks."

Team Lifesavers captains
Abbi Agnitsch, Tammy Hare, Valerie Patterson, team captains for Team Lifesavers :


"When you ask me why I Relay only one thing jumps into my mind - Jim Weins. He was a friend of mine who passed away from cancer. When I first met this man, he was so full of life, so spunky...he loved food and cooking. We would share recipes; if he tried something new he would come in and tell us about it. He was a handy man, who I am sure most of the community knew and respected. We saw this man go through chemo, deal with the sickness and pain, and pass up several "death dates" as I called them. He told his doctors, "we are gonna kick this thing let's give it 110%!" He showed me what a fighter was.

Since Jim, I hear about cancer all the time but he opened my eyes. After truly getting involved with the Relay for Life, I have had the opportunity to know what the American Cancer Society really can do, not only for the patients but also for the families. A story that sticks with me is about a little boy who would call everyday and talk to the call center. His mom had cancer. They helped him and talked to him, it was what he needed. So it's not just about the cancer research or the housing they can provide or the great facilities they have. It's something as small as talking to a child to help calm his fears that makes the Relay for Life important to me."


"Three years ago I was listening to KCHE on a program about the Relay for Life. I had walked in a Relay, but I was excited to learn we could form our own team. After talking to some of my friends, Abbi, Val and I created Team Lifesavers. The work we do by raising money makes me feel we are making a difference. Cancer has affected everyone who has lost loved ones or has supported survivors. Fighting to help find a cure is special to me. I love the Relay for Life."

If you would like to get involved in Cherokee's Relay for Life, you may contact Myla Stoneking at 225-6018 or Veldene Lindell at 225-3766.

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