Relay’s survival reflects hope
The start of the annual Eudora Relay For Life at 7 p.m. Friday at Laws Field is a testament to the affection and importance the community gives to the event.
Earlier this year, it looked as if the Relay would go into at least a year's hiatus. That didn't happen because new leaders were willing to step up, old teams recommitted to the event to be joined by fresh and enthusiastic participants. Whether they can be re-created, the incredible success of past events is secondary to the continuation of its message of hope.
The American Cancer Society event has several goals. One is, of course, to raise money to fight the disease that nearly 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with in the next 12 months and from which 570,000 will die (nearly 13,000 Kansans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year).
The Relay is also structured to remember those who lost their battle to cancer and those who survived. These moving rituals would touch even the rare individual with no personal experience with the disease.
An equally important goal is to increase awareness. Cancer is most often both a very preventable and survivable disease with the application of knowledge. If the shared personal experiences or brochures available at the Relay alert just one person in attendance to take a physical or other life-saving step, the success of the event is assured, no matter how much money is raised.
Finally, the event is supposed to be fun. Anyone who has attended past Eudora events can attest that local organizers have always made the Relay entertaining.
Those not on a team but curious about what is happening under the stadium should stop by. There they may take a few quiet laps around the track, contemplating friends, loved ones and strangers remembered with luminarias. While there, they could toss a few dollars into collection jars or enjoy some of the food or drinks vended by different organizations to raise money.
We salute all those who brought the event back this year, while urging all not already involved in the Relay to stop by to enjoy the fun, leave a few dollars and by all means, learn.