By Marlene Deschler
Spring Grove Herald
The journey to end cancer starts with a single step. The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event is an opportunity for people to remember loved ones lost to cancer, honor cancer survivors and to raise awareness and money to help fund research to end cancer.
Spring Grove will be hosting this year’s Houston County Relay for Life on Friday, Aug. 2. A survivors’ reception will begin that evening at 5 p.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 6 p.m.
The program will include music and a message from Houston County Relay for Life’s Honorary Chairperson Scott Bingham.
Survivors will make the first lap around the track followed by caregivers, and then all participants will join in the Relay for Life event. The public is invited to all of the festivities.
A food stand will open at 5:30 p.m. with brats, pork burgers and more. There will also be a silent auction with bids being taken until 10 p.m. Relay teams donate items for the auction to raise money for their team. Anyone is able to bid on the items.
A variety of games and activities will go on throughout the night as well the Norwegian game of Kubb, Bingo and more to keep people busy and awake!
Luminarias will line the track with names on each and every one “in honor of” or “in memory of” someone who has battled cancer.
A luminaria can be purchased ahead of time from a participating relay team or at the event. They cost $10 each or three for $25.
Each year, they are lit during a special ceremony beginning at 9 p.m. Once lit, they give a soft, special glow to the walking track that must be seen in person to appreciate how moving it is.
Throughout the evening, walkers and the public will be entertained by high school pianist, Liz Johnson; the four-piece band, Kindred Minds, playing an eclectic blend of folk, traditional and gospel music; karaoke; and more.
Walkers will be treated to pizza at midnight and a continental breakfast in the morning. Closing ceremonies will wrap-up the Relay for 2013 with totals raised being announced as well as awards.
No specific theme has been laid out this year, although it was noted that it is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Cancer Society.
“The Relay for Life is such a wonderful event that brings so many together for the same goal,” Houston County Relay for Life co-chair Joycelyn Rostad said.
“The Houston County Relay for Life began right here in Spring Grove. We are excited to have the rotation bring it back to town and are looking forward to a fun and successful event.
“We invite everyone, even if they are not a part of the team, to come out to the event and enjoy some good food, music and see all that are walking to make a difference.”
The Houston County Relay for Life event will be held at the Spring Grove Fest Building instead of Viking Memorial Park this year. Campsites will be available north of the building in the grassy field-area.
The walking track will be around the Fest Building and other activities will be held there. If someone is not on a team and would like to join one or create their own team, contact Rostad at 507-498-5212 or Judy Bratland at 507-498-5147 to find out details.
This story was reprinted with permission from the Spring Grove Herald.