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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Reasons to Relay

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  • Teams, survivors, games, food and entertainment are all part of the annual Relay For Life, the yearly event that raises money for cancer research.
    Through their efforts this year, they raised approximately $30,500.
    It takes lots of volunteers, lots of hours of work and people willing to share their cancer story.
    Almost everyone associated with Relay has some connection to cancer whether they have it or a family member of friend has it.
    For Relay Committee Chair Kerri Boldt, her sister was her inspiration to get involved. She has breast cancer and that increases Boldt's chances to get it as well.
    "It hits pretty close to home," Boldt said.
    The funds for the medications used to treat Boldt's sister came out of Relay for Life so it wasn't a hard choice for Boldt when she was asked to get involved.
    She looks at little Madison Hunt, a four-year survivor, and realizes that could be her grandchild. Hunt and all the other survivors are the face of the Relay.
    The Relay committee is not big and more members are needed. Many have been on the committee longer than she and each has a story to tell about why they want to be involved.
    The teams always seem to enjoy participating in the event as well. Pratt Regional Medical Center and Pratt Community College each have big teams every year and participants have a good time, Boldt said.
    Another important element of the Relay is the caregivers. They are recognized because without them, cancer victims would not have the quality of life they have during their battle with cancer.
    But the bottom line is raising money so every year more people can wear the survivor t-shirt and prevent them from becoming victims.
    It seemed the community support for the relay was down this year as compared to previous years. A total of 14 teams registered but only 13 actually participated.
    While the team numbers were down, businesses continued to support the Relay with donations for the auction and financial donations.
    One element of Relay that worked out better than anticipated this year was the weather. With clear skies, at least until the very end, and mild temperatures, the weather was some of the nicest they had ever had even though it was more humid than normal.
    "It was a blessing we didn't have the heat," Boldt said.
    Enjoying the mild temperatures was survivor Don Beldon who is looking forward to turning 81 in October. He has fought the fight for almost a quarter of a century. He had the distinction of being one of the oldest survivors and being one that has survived cancer longest at 24 years since he was first diagnosed.
    Page 2 of 2 - Beldon has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the liver. He proudly wears his survivor's shirt as a participant and is also captain of the Presbyterian Church team.
    He enjoys being at Relay and appreciates every thing they do for cancer research.
    "It's a great deal to try to prevent and find a cure for cancer," Beldon said. "They are a great bunch."
    He enjoys the fund raising competition in his church between Stanion Electric and First National Bank.
    Cancer survivor Debbie Winter is very noticeable when she attends an event and shares her story. For one thing she is very visible wearing a pink hat with lights that twinkle.
    Winter is 60 years old and a 13-year breast cancer survivor.
    The American Cancer Society named Winter a "Hero of Hope" in 2011 and she travels to relays, schools, service organizations and anywhere that will listen to her as she tells her story of survival and hope for others with the disease and their family and friends.
    Winter lives in Medicine Lodge and made the trip to Pratt to be a part of the relay. She is very active in the Medicine Lodge Relay and has a lot to do.
    At Pratt, she could just sit and watch until it was her turn to share. She enjoyed being able to enjoy the Relay and getting to share her message of hope.
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