New Relay leaders deserve thanks for accepting challenge
It would be easy to feel sorry for Eric Strimple and Deb Campbell. The two Eudorans have stepped into the large shoes left by longtime organizers Marilyn Laws Porter, Judi O'Grady and Robyne Pippert and will serve as event co-chairs of the Eudora American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
The size of their commitment is enough to cause pause. If not already a second job, their roles will become one as the Relay nears. Perhaps more difficult is the chore of keeping the momentum of an event that has surely exceeded the most optimistic fantasies of the cancer society.
As a community, we could do Strimple and Campbell a favor by foregoing any mention of the Relay's past success. With a late start on organizing activities before the pair agreed to fill the leadership void, they have enough in front of them without that pressure. They are not new to the event and their commitment signals a continued passion for the Relay.
There is reason to be optimistic. Ultimately, the Relay's success doesn't depend on its leaders but on the community's continued support. Given the community's embrace of the Relay, it's difficult to believe will disappear with a change in leadership.
Also, the Relay is very much a memorial. Its ceremonies evoke special commemoration of loved ones lost to cancer. The more who share the experience, the more meaningful the memorial.
This year's Relay went over the top in large part because of the recruitment of out-of-town teams. As others experience the scale of the Eudora Relay and the passion it generates among participants, it may inspire them to recruit new faces.
A lot is asked of local Relay organizers. It might be appropriate if the cancer society gave them more flexibility in scripting local events.
Strimple and Campbell deserve our thanks and support as they seek to continue what has become a community tradition in a relatively short time.