Local cancer patients beneficiaries of Relay

By Emily Bialkowski
Caledonia Argus


Seventy-eight Houston County residents were the direct benefactors of donations from the 2011 Relay for Life.

Some of the patients received financial assistance, some transportation assistance and some received image assistance in the form of a wig, prosthesis or other beauty need.

The county’s generosity continues to impress, and last year the relay raised $68,000. Organizers of this year’s event – set for Aug. 3 and 4 at the La Crescent MS/HS track – hope another 30 teams will step up to “celebrate, remember and fight back.”

“The Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s flagship program to support the mission of the organization,” Relay Co-chair Ben Barton said.

The event will be kicked off with an opening ceremony and survivor/caregiver lap at 6 p.m. Team members will continue to circle the track on foot, non-stop until 5 a.m.

Special events are scheduled throughout the relay to help keep walkers energized. There will be multiple bands, DJs, food, campsite decorating, bingo… the list is long.

Although the relay committee hopes people will want to join teams and raise funds for the cancer society, they do extend an invitation for people to simply swing by.

“Even if someone is not on a team, we encourage them to join us and walk the track, eat some food, enjoy the entertainment, bid on the silent auction items, etc.,” Barton said.

And, the family-friendly atmosphere welcomes young and old alike with activities for all ages.

For those who are enduring cancer currently, the American Cancer Society offers many local support services.

Anyone who is interested can participate in the American Cancer Society Navigator program. It is an expense-free, private, one-on-one session meant to discuss the needs of the patient and their family at Gundersen Lutheran and Mayo Clinic Systems in La Crosse as well as the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Also available to anyone is the only 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year cancer hotline in America.Patients and their families can speak directly with cancer specialists at 1-800-227-2345.

In Rochester, The Hope Lodge has served several patients and their caregivers from Houston County with free lodging while receiving treatment.

These support programs would not be possible without the relay.

For more information, or to participate, email [email protected]


Contact Emily Bialkowski at [email protected]