Community Viewpoint: Join Kingman’s ‘Relay For Life’ event, May 13

Each year dedicated volunteers across America put on a fundraising event known as “Relay For Life.” It is the signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society.

This year, the Relay For Life in Kingman will be on May 13 at Kingman High School, located on Bank Street between Northern Avenue and Gordon Drive.

Join your community as we come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that has taken too much.

Why do these dedicated people work so hard for free? Many are cancer survivors or have family members who have battled cancer.

I can tell you why I do it. My mother survived three different types of cancer between 1985 and 1991. She died in 2012, two months short of her 91st birthday. I am one of her five children.

My beloved brother, Leo, died in 2001 from gall bladder cancer, two of my sisters have daughters with cancer, one breast cancer and the other cervical cancer. My brother Leo’s granddaughter, Courtney, was diagnosed at 17 with neuroblastoma. She is now 23 years old and last February she was diagnosed with colon cancer.

In my husband’s family, he is one of 10 children, every one of whom has been affected by cancer in some way.

They lived nearly all their lives in Yavapai and/or Mohave counties. He was born at the old Kingman hospital downtown. They lived here when the federal government was conducting atomic bomb tests in Nevada. Skin cancer is prevalent among them. He has a brother-in-law who died of brain cancer, a sister who has had thyroid cancer, two nieces with breast cancer, and the list goes on and on.

Relay For Life team members will take turns walking or running around the track at the high school. One member of each team will be on the track at all times.

Each team has a booth decorated with this year’s theme, Mardi Gras Carnival, where they will try to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

While they walk, there will be many activities happening. The event will start at noon with activities and entertainment all day long. At 5 p.m. we will have a dinner provided for survivors and one guest.

The official opening ceremony is at 6 p.m. followed by a special lap to celebrate survivors. After the survivor lap is the caregivers’ lap, which recognizes those who have given care to cancer patients. Luminaria bags and candles are lit during the luminaria ceremony at 9 p.m. Luminarias are to remember those who have passed and to bring honor to those who have survived or are still battling cancer. Individuals will walk the track while family games, activities and entertainment continue.

Finally, the closing ceremony, called the Fight Back Ceremony, will close the event at midnight. The relayers will take a final lap and pledge to take action and spread awareness of cancer research, treatments and prevention.

Why should you care? Every year, the Relay For Life movement raises more than $400 million. These donations are put to work investing in groundbreaking research in every type of cancer, providing information and services to cancer patients and their caregivers.

If you want to know more about the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer, go online to www.cancer.org, or call 800-227-2345. For information on Kingman’s Relay For Life or to register for the event, go to www.KingmanRelay.com. If you would like to purchase a luminaria to honor a survivor, or in memory of a loved one who had cancer, contact Peggy Smith at roxismith2011@gmail.com, or any team member.

For any other information contact Alexis Knapp at aleexis.knapp@cancer.org, or 928-526-7346. If you or your business would like to be a corporate sponsor, contact Vivian Hopkins at vhopkins@citlink.net.

If you don’t do computers, write to me at the address below, or to Knapp (Relay For Life community manager for Northern Arizona), at 403 N. Agassiz Street, Ste. 1, Flagstaff, AZ. 86001. Come to our kickoff event from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Canyon 66 Restaurant & Lounge, 3100 E. Andy Devine Avenue in Kingman.