Archive for Thursday, June 3, 2004

Keeping the Relay moving

Cancer survivor Crawshaw and other RV-ers lend behind-the-scenes support

June 3, 2004

Getting the wheels in motion for the annual Relay for Life event in Eudora has a lot to do with RVs, or at least the people who own them.
Before teams and community members descend on Laws Field for the event's Friday night beginning, volunteers like Franklin and Lorene Crawshaw are busy blowing up balloons and, in the past, have prepared to sell Relay T-shirts the night of the event. It's something the grandchildren can even get in to.
"When you blow up balloons, they like to do that," Lorene Crawshaw said.
But long before the event, the Crawshaws and other RV enthusiasts have spent their warm winters south of Kansas folding the thousands of luminaria bags that circle the track and illuminate the venue.
It's a project the couple and other RV-ers in the Cedar Creek Good Sam Club complete piecemeal.
"We do it a couple of hours (at a time)," Franklin Crawshaw said. "It depends on what we're doingand where we're at."
It's not a hard job to do, Lorene Crawshaw said.
"But you get to talking and forget what you're doing," she said.
The Crawshaws and a handful of other RV enthusiasts gather near Laws Field for the Relay for Life, an event the Crawshaws became involved in not long after the American Cancer Society's fund-raising event came to Eudora seven years ago.
"I just thought it was a group here in Eudora that started this in Eudora," Lorene Crawshaw said of the Relays, which take place nation-wide. "Our daughter put his name in (as a survivor)."
Franklin Crawshaw was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1989, but he said the disease was caught early. Ironically, though, it was his wife's appointment with a physician during which the disease was caught. Because Franklin Crawshaw came to his wife's appointment as well, the physician offered to examine him, too.
The physician made an appointment for him the next day, and then the physician had a room waiting for Crawshaw at the hospital.
"It happened so fast, you really didn't think about the consequences," Lorene Crawshaw said.
Franklin Crawshaw said participating in the survivor lap made him appreciate the wide reach of the disease as well as cancer's disregard for age. But the Relay offered moments of beauty, as well, he said.
"It's really pretty when they have all the luminaria lit," he said.
Last year, the event raised more than $65,000 for the American Cancer Society to distribute as funding for cancer research and patient programs. This year, 22 teams that have raised money since March will take to the track from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday in an effort symbolizing the arduous struggle with cancer.
And among the volunteers behind this weekend's effort are RV enthusiasts like the Crawshaws, whose work will be present in the decorative balloons and the beauty of the luminaries.
"We just do what we can to help," Franklin Crawshaw said.

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