Walking for hope and help
Annual Northern Wright County Relay for Life raises money to save lives from cancer
Story and Photos By Doug Voerding
"I have been inspired by many people in my life," said Gary Miller, "people whose lives were cut short by cancer. I had those people in my life for many years, but cancer robbed their children and grandchildren. They can only see pictures and hear stories. They will never have their own stories."
Miller, a community and family care giver and former Wright County sheriff, was honored as a hero of hope and presented the opening speech at the Relay for Life held at Sturges Park last Friday night, July 14.
"What we are doing is great because resources are always needed in the fight against cancer," said Miller, to kick-off the annual event.
It was the 22nd annual fundraising event sponsored and organized by the Northern Wright County Relay for Life. Fourteen teams participated in raising money for the American Cancer Society. By the end of the event, the teams raised more than $17,000. The top three teams were: Ann's Knights, Celebrate Good Times, and Soaring Eagles.
The evening began with an opening ceremony and a first lap for cancer survivors and caregivers. While team members walked the course, several activities were available including demonstrations by the Annandale cheerleaders and the World Taekwondo Academy. Wright County Sheriff's Deputy Dan Cotton showed his work with his dog Chase.
At 9:30, all of the activity slowed for a quiet time as the luminarias were lit and walkers silently circled the course between the lighted luminarias. Each of the hundreds of luminarias, white bags with candles inside, honored and remembered individual family members and friends who have been afflicted with cancer.
This year's local Relay for Life Committee members were Breonna Carlson and Sarah Wiles, co-chairs; Lissa Weber, team ambassador; Amber Lemieux, recognition and sponsorship; Jessica Miller, activities and luminarias; Chad Wiles, entertainment; Linda Zahler, accounting; Judy Wadsworth, survivors and care givers; and Clayton Diskerud and Deb Hatanpa, publicity and marketing.
Many Wright County organizations and businesses contributed to the Relay for Life effort.
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