Relay for Life’s other heroes
Anyone feeling tired while walking laps a few hours before sunrise Saturday at the Eudora Relay for Life should consider walking a mile in one of the event organizers' shoes. The remarkable success story that is the Eudora relay must be attributed to the time and energy its leaders, from to individual team captains to those in charge, who contribute to the event.
They have made what is a valuable, but routine, happening in other communities, one of Eudora's signature events. That is so because of the energy of its participants.
It is the spirit of Marilyn Laws Porter, Judi O'Grady and Robyne Pippert going to a Washington, D.C., Relay event and bringing ideas for the local Relay back with them. It demonstrated in the voice of Rod Moyer, still cracking jokes at 2 a.m. from the public address booth. It is illustrated by team captains who recruit members, attend meetings, collect money and order T-shirts.
The spirit also lives through Julie Laws Stewart, who pounds the doors of area businesses seeking corporate donations. It is illustrated by the hours Terri Long spends typing the names on the luminaries and the efforts of Sherry Moran and Mary Ann Nicolay in rounding up teams, not to mention the hours other committee members spend organizing the games, food and prizes that add something extra to the event.
Success can be measured by the money raised, in the neighborhood of $50,000 the last two years. But the relay is about participation as much as it is about fund-raising. Those who have survived cancer are recognized and provide inspiration. Those who have died from the dreaded disease are remembered by friends and loved ones. Those participants still untouched can learn more about the disease and early prevention -- still the best way to survive its onslaught.
Challenging economic times might prevent the Eudora Relay for Life from collecting ever-increasing amounts, but continued overwhelming participation will ensure its success.