Nebo Relay for Life
The Salem Hills High School football stadium came alive on the night of June 20, with cancer survivors, caregivers, families and friends at the Nebo Relay For Life.
“We’re all here because we’ve felt cancer’s sting,” said Kelly Mitchell, event co-chair. “I don’t want my daughter or any other children to have to loose their mothers to cancer like I did.”
Dawn Davis, the evening’s event chair, learned how much cancer impacts a family when her son was diagnosed with it. “Participating in the Relay For Life helps each of us see we are not helpless. We can fight back and we can do it remarkable ways.”
The Relay For Life is the largest fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. Held in cities around the world relays allow communities to come together to battle this disease that has impacted so many.
Cancer survivors kick off the relay with a survivor lap as their families and friends line the track cheering them on. For many cancer survivors every step they take around the track reclaims the strength cancer has taken from them.
“Being able to carry the banner in the survivor lap was very empowering for me,” said Diane Sebring, a cancer survivor of four years. “It kind of surprised me, I didn’t realize how much of my own power it had taken from me. Holding that banner as we walked felt like I was reclaiming it.”
Following their lap, cancer survivors are joined on the track by their caregivers.
“I’ve felt the love and support of my family,” Sebring continued. “I can’t help but think I might not be here if it weren’t for them.”
Businesses like Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Company, Pepsi Co., Gunnerson Dental, Nebo Comfort Systems and more formed teams in support their co-workers, customers, and their families through their battles with cancer.
One highlight of every year’s event is the Luminaria Ceremony when the lights are turned off around the stadium and relayers walk the track lit by hundreds of candle lit luminaria bags decorated with messages of love, support and remembrance for cancer patients. This year’s ceremony was made especially poignant when Kelly Mitchell dedicated it to the husband of a team member who was in the final stages of his struggle.
“It’s so hard when you put a name and a face to that kind of loss and you know how much they are hurting because you have felt the same pain,” said one audience member who lost her husband to cancer five years ago. “I don’t even know them, but I am praying for them.”
“This year’s relay may be over, but the battle against cancer isn’t,” added Davis. “You can help by going to neborelayforlife.org and donating or joining our Facebook group, Nebo Relay For Life, and finding out about events we hold throughout the year.”
Brave guys “dressed up” and ran around the track in the Mr. Relay contest to raise money.