Knox County Relay For Life Celebrates Stormy Tenth Anniversary
By David Sharp
Well over 200 area residents braved threatening weather to celebrate the Tenth Annual American Cancer Society Knox County Relay For Life. The event was held on the Edina city square. Event Co-Chair Betty Couch told the assembly there were more sponsors and more luminaries sold than ever before.
Long time Relay participants harkened back to the first Knox County Relay that was also dampened by inclement weather. The immediate area where the Relay took place was never threatened by lightning strikes or high winds.
There was plenty of rain. There was also resolve to have a good time despite the weather, and to fight back from a disease that has affected so many lives.
Gary Fagan performed the National Anthem around the 6PM start time. An honor guard from the Cyril A. Graham American Legion Post of Edina led approximately 64 survivors around a track centered by a record 1200 luminaries.
Cancer survivors from newly diagnosed Cancer patients to those who have been cancer free for up to 44 years rolled around the track for a victory lap.
Caregivers joined the survivors for lap number two. After cancer survivors released helium filled balloons into the darkening sky, survivors took the stage to tell their stories.
Bobbi Clark held two and a half year old cancer survivor John Mathew Clark while relating her son’s near fatal bought with cancer about two years ago. Gary Waite and Karen Hall shared their battles along with Linda Banks.
Belinda (Baker) Hunter and husband Billy of Edina shared their successful fight against Lymphoma with the Edina Sentinel. That in depth interview will be published in a separate story.
Relay Teams C Troop, The Money Changers (Citizen’s Bank of Edina), Hawkins Insurance, Friends, Mark Twain Rural Telephone, A Rainbow of Survivors, Cheerin’ For A Cure, The Knox County Nursing Home, The Purple Healers, and Warm Bodies provided great food and entertainment.
The Money Changers reported selling over 175 of their ever popular banana splits. If anyone went away hungry, it was probably because they were on a diet.
The award winning Knox County R-I cheerleaders put on a show during the entertainment portion of the Relay. The Isaac Clown Troupe of Ewing, Missouri, Danielle’s Dance Program of Kirksville, Holianne Jackson, and the Backroads Band along with the Jim and Kyle Clark family of Edina performed.
Progressively threatening weather forced event organizers to move their Luminary Ceremony under the 4-H pavilion. Rain soaked the luminary bags, as happened ten years ago.
Luminary readers Brent Karhoff, Mike Fox and Jeff Doss took from about 9:10PM to 9:33PM to read the names of 1200 people honored by the $5 donation luminaries.
Relay For Life is rich in symbolism. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays can be up to 24 hours in duration. Over a half million cancer survivors and 3.5 million participants have taken part in Relay For Life according to American Cancer Society information.
Since 1985 more than 45,000 Relay events have been held in the United States. The ACS reports that 80% of the growth in their annual giving since 1995 is from Relay. The Relay For Life accounts for 40% of giving from all sources to the American Cancer Society.
The Money Changers won the ever popular Lip Synch contest. Ken and Jeanie Mitchell of Edina donated a pizza party at the Edina Pizza Haus for participation in the Lip Synch contest. The Purple Healers team won the 2010 pizza party.
C Troop, Knox County Nursing Home, Cheering for a Cure, Purple Healers, Friends, Hawkins Insurance and Friends had Lip Synch teams.
Attendees and participants shared a birthday cake. Betty Couch thanked Relay teams, committees and “everyone that worked so hard to make this Relay a success.”
Funds raising totals for the 2010 Knox County Relay For Life were not immediately available. Mrs. Couch told the Edina Sentinel that the Relay had over $29,000 in the bank before the Relay began.
Knox County R-I graduates Amber Hayes of Edina and Shane Clouse of Hurdland announced their engagement during the Relay. Gary Fagan was the Relay Master of Ceremonies. Fagan also sang during the 6:45PM to 9PM entertainment portion.