6/6/2014 6:01:00 AM Relay for Life celebration Saturday Cancer society fundraiser focuses on survivors - and absent loved ones
This couple got away before they could be identified at last year’s American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Kingman. This year’s event begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at Kingman High School and continues to Sunday morning.
Cancer survivor Vicki Warmouth found her personalized luminaria bag at the event last year.
KINGMAN - The number of teams and financial goal may be smaller this year for Relay for Life of Kingman, but the desire to help others fighting cancer is just as strong among participants.
"I'm very excited about being a part of Relay for Life," said event chairwoman Joann Miracle. "The American Cancer Society has accomplished so much over the years and its researchers are working hard to find a cure. I'm very passionate about something that honors those who've died, celebrates the survivors and raises money to keep the fight going."
Now in its 10th year, Relay for Life of Kingman has grown from 12 teams raising $26,000 the first year to 54 teams bringing in $100,000 in later events. Last year, 45 teams collected about $87,000. Miracle, whose father and brother struggle with cancer, said that over the past decade, local participants have raised more than $400,000 in the annual crusade.
So far this year, 27 teams have signed up and are on target to reach Kingman's goal of raising $85,000.
Activities on Saturday include live family friendly music by The Relay Band and Justified, and a variety of contests for teams walking the track. Participants will compete by eating watermelon, wearing formal gowns, riding stick horses and wearing outlandish bras and boxer shorts on the outside of their clothes.
A luminary ceremony will take place at 9 p.m. Saturday, featuring a silent lap around a track illuminated only by candles and a slide show displaying photographs of locals who have fought cancer. Leroy Tipton, a Mohave County resident and male breast-cancer survivor attending the event for the first year, will speak about his experiences during the ceremony.
Participants will camp overnight at the high school and attend a closing ceremony at 6 a.m. Sunday. Miracle said a lot of bonding takes place during the event as team members cry, share their stories and talk about their loved ones who have lived - and sometimes died - with cancer.
"Once you've done a Relay for Life, it keeps pulling you back to do it again," said Miracle. "It's a lot of fun, and I really like the fact that it's a remembrance, a celebration and a fight-back event. It's a very emotional weekend and a gratifying experience."