Relay keeps cancer fight up all night
For people who haven't had a chance to break in their New Balance or Nike walking shoes, Friday night might be the right opportunity with the Eudora Relay for Life.
Eudora's fourth annual Relay for Life (RFL) will kick off 4 p.m., Friday, at Laws Field with team check in and registration.
At 6 p.m., there will be a silent auction of more than 50 donated items from area businesses and individuals. Auction coordinator Tina Breedlove said the items up for bid include hot air balloon rides, a Eudora City Pool pass for a family of five, brunch for two at Lawrence's Eldridge Hotel and toys that can be bid on by children.
"I got a good reception from the people I did call," Breedlove said. "Most everybody was willing to give. For the things that we did get, we felt pretty fortunate."
The opening ceremony begins at 7 p.m. Mayor Ron Conner will give a welcoming speech followed by an introduction of teams and their committee chairs.
RFL co-coordinator Marilyn Laws Porter said there are 28 teams this year, compared to last year's 23. Each team has 10 to 12 members with a $100 money-raising goal for each member. The RFL goal is $50,000, as opposed to last year's $42,000 goal.
Another RFL goal is to keep at least one person from each team on the track during the 12-hour event. RFL symbolizes the struggles cancer patients feel as the battle begins, starting with the onset of cancer as the sun sets. The night's darkness symbolizes the difficulty of battling cancer. The morning sunrise wrapping up the event represents hope that, with financial and personal support, a cure may be found.
Before each team sets out on their nightlong journey, cancer survivors make a ceremonial lap. Laws Porter said an estimated 90 survivors are expected to walk the ceremonial lap.
The Junkyard Jazz will begin playing following the opening ceremony and will provide entertainment for walkers.
A luminary service will be at 8:45 p.m., honoring those who have yielded to or overcome the battle against cancer. RFL concludes 7 a.m. Saturday.
One of Eudora's fighters is 15-year-old Brooke O'Grady. Since O'Grady is unable to attend the event, Laws Porter said the teenager was given a memento to remind her that others continue the battle in her place.
"We gave Brooke a survivor shirt last night and she's going to wear it on the day," Laws Porter said. "It's just incredible she's lived another year."
Eric Gruber can be reached at email@example.com