Southeast Nebraska Residents Raise Money to Battle Cancer at Annual Relay for Life in Auburn
Friday, June 8 residents of Nemaha county gathered around the Auburn High School to celebrate the lives which have been touched by cancer and raise money for cancer research. 86 people participated in Relay for Life, at which someone was walking the track from 6:00 pm until midnight.
The ceremony began at sunset to symbolize the feelings a patient has when diagnosed with cancer and the long, hard journey they must embark on. However, like the family, friends, and health care workers, team members help Relay for Life walkers through the walk, letting each other take turns or keeping each other company. Normally Relays end at 6:00 am, around sunrise, to symbolize the light at the end when cancer patients realize they’ve made it through the cancer treatments.
However, Auburn’s Relay was one of a few experiments in towns to see if a shorter length of time may appeal to the community better. Although cities may have larger teams which can take turns and walk for twelve hours, smaller towns have more difficulty lasting through the night with fewer people. Since these towns still have a lot to give, the American Cancer Society is trying shortened Relays to see if that keeps people walking and interacting.
Like all Relays, the shortened Relay for Life begins with a lap of only cancer survivors, then a second lap with the survivors and caregivers. For the third lap, everyone joins in. Relay for Life isn’t all about walking, however. Auburn’s Relay for Life featured vendors, games, and a silent auction. In addition to the smaller games they had going on all night, the Relay also featured a scavenger hunt for children, a scavenger hunt for adults, and water balloon games.
Before the walking began, Carol Ensor sang a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. A guest speaker, Dick Hahn, spoke about how cancer effected his life. Hahn had lost his son to cancer, and he spoke fondly of the time they had spent together. Hahn was positive about the future and said in his speech, “I don’t know if [the cure for cancer] will happen in my lifetime, but I’m sure it will in some of yours.”
The 2012 Relay for Life committee worked hard to make this event possible. The committee consisted of Dr. Darren Wright, Joe Casey, Jackie Obermeyer, Billie Peters, Angela Allgood, Michelle Dixon, Kelsey Dixon, Sheryl Petet, Pam Adams, Eric Adams, Mary-Jo Parker, the American Cancer Society representative Randall Jantzen, DJ Domino, the Online Chair of Southeast Nebraska’s Relay for Life Paige Hillman, and the Chair of the Southeast Nebraska’s Relay for Life, Mary Bossung. The committee began working on this project in March. Bossung’s place as chair is a two year commitment. Although it was her first year working on Auburn’s Relay for Life, she has worked with Seward County’s and Lincoln’s before.
For the past 15 years Southeast Nebraska has been hosting Relay for Life in Auburn, and in that time it has earned almost 300,000 dollars for the American Cancer Society. The money earned at Relays goes to cancer research, service programs, education about cancer, and advocacy.
“I know it’s a struggle, and I’d like to thank the people who come out year to year and those whose first year was this one. I’d also like to that the committee who put this together, and the American Cancer Society for everything they do,” said Bossung.