Grand County joins the battle against cancer with Relay for Life |

Grand County joins the battle against cancer with Relay for Life

The annual Relay for Life event takes hold of participants ” of your senses, of your emotions, of your thoughts.

It is a laughter-filled social event and a walking meditation on the fragility of life.

For 13 hours, from sunset to sunrise, people walk the circle of the Middle Park High School track in an effort to raise money for cancer research.

Cancer is the disease of our age. It seems in this time that each of us is simply waiting our turn when the doctor calls us into the office after a series of routine tests and utters those three resounding words, “You have cancer.”

And if you are one of the lucky ones who never hear those words, then it will undoubtedly be your mother, your daughter, your son or your husband who hears them.

Cancer is a rippling wave that no dam can stop.

Instead, we walk.

The Grand County relay begins at 6 p.m. Aug. 2 and will continue until 7 a.m. Aug. 3.

On the night of the Relay for Life event, survivors walk next to the friends and families of those who did not survive.

Ninety percent of the funds raised on Aug. 2 will stay in Grand County. The Relay for Life committee has partnered with the Grand County Rural Health Network, Heart of the Mountains Hospice and the local cancer survivors support group to determine distribution of the funds.

There are a few ways you can get involved.

One, join a team. Agree to walk for two hours and raise pledges for your walk.

Two, form a team. Get the people in your church, your circle of friends or your workplace to agree to fill all 13 hours with someone on the track.

Three, pledge a donation or buy a luminaria from someone who is walking. When you buy a luminaria, you are invited to decorate it in honor of a survivor or someone who lost their battle with cancer.

On the evening of the event, all the luminarias will be lit and placed along the track.

Thus begins the Ceremony of Hope.

In those moments of silence after the candles are lit, the glow of all those hundreds of luminarias touches everyone there to witness it.

But just when the pain of thinking about cancer and all the lives it has destroyed seems like it is too much, the music comes on and a celebration of life begins in earnest.

Last year, everyone who participated left the event exhausted from hours of walking, but refreshed from the conversations had during that time on the track.

Since the rule of the event is that your team must be represented on the track, relay fashion, for an entire 12 hours, it is a great chance to be outside and awake to watch the sun rise.

When was the last time you did that?

We encourage anyone reading this editorial to seek out a team to join or, if you are unable to walk for hours, seek out someone who is looking for pledges and donate whatever you can. All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.

If you are teamless, the Sky-Hi Daily News has a relay team this year and would welcome anyone who wants to join. Call editor Autumn Phillips at (970) 887-3334 ext. 19600 or e-mail to get a pledge packet.

Or, to form your own team, call Event Chair Sandy Clem at (970) 531-2654.

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