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Archive for Friday, January 27, 2006

Relay for Life gears up for annual event

January 27, 2006

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Alietha Beckman, of Lawrence, survived cancer.

The last few years, to help fight the disease and pay tribute to those who didn't beat it, she has participated in the Relay for Life of Lawrence.

At the annual summer event, Lawrence and Douglas County residents raise money for the American Cancer Society. The Lawrence event will begin June 9 at Free State High School. Its theme is the Wild West.

Thursday evening at Free State, team captains and volunteers continued preparing for the summer event with a kickoff and informational meeting.

Beckman, her friend Connie Varuska, of Lawrence, and her granddaughter, Michelle Byrn, of Lawrence, this year sewed a purple and white quilt that includes 16 Relay for Life T-shirts.

Byrn said she and her children and other family members have been involved with the relay for three years.

"I got involved because my grandmother started collecting money. We did it as a family," Byrn said. "It hits close to home because my grandmother and I have had other family members die from cancer."

Lawrence residents Gloria Morton pins a sherriff's badge on the sweater of Beverly Temple as the two prepare for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life kickoff Thursday night at Free State High School. The evening carried a wild west theme. The relay itself will be held June 9-10 and proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the American Cancer Society.

Lawrence residents Gloria Morton pins a sherriff's badge on the sweater of Beverly Temple as the two prepare for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life kickoff Thursday night at Free State High School. The evening carried a wild west theme. The relay itself will be held June 9-10 and proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the American Cancer Society.

The quilt was on display during the kickoff event, and it will move around to various Lawrence businesses until the relay. Relay organizers will use it in some fashion to raise money.

During the 12-hour relay, participants walk around the track at Free State High School and honor the memory of loved ones with a luminaria ceremony.

Cris Aiken, co-chairwoman for the relay with Tina Yates, said they hoped to raise $140,000 this year. In 2005, 74 teams raised $135,500, even though rain canceled the outdoor event, she said.

Aiken said she was encouraged by the team captains who attended Thursday's kickoff.

"It kind of gets people pumped up and ready to go for the relay," Aiken said.

Aiken has been involved with the relay for five years, the last three as a co-chairwoman. Cancer has haunted her family as well.

"I celebrate their lives. I honor them. Some are survivors, and some have passed on," Aiken said.

To learn more about the relay, call Aiken at 832-1210 or Yates at 749-2985.

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