Third annual Relay For Life raises funds and awareness

Several hundred gathered lakeside at the Roger Schmidt Amphitheater July 27 for the Third Annual Fallon County Relay For Life.

By Lisa Kilsdonk

Posted on August 3, 2012

Several hundred gathered lakeside at the Roger Schmidt Amphitheater July 27 for the Third Annual Fallon County Relay For Life.

This year’s event was chaired by Linda Moore with Shirley Sakelaris and Pat Madler serving as her co-chairs. The evening opened with a warm welcome from Linda Moore, followed by a few words from American Cancer Society staffer, Sara Haugen. “It’s a great committee,” said Haugen. “The three chairs worked together to recruit a committee of 15. There is just no way this could happen without volunteers.”

“It’s just a wonderful organization. Over four million relay for this cause annually,” said Fallon County Relay For Life chairperson Linda Moore. “I believe there will be a cure some day, and that will be awesome.”

Moore along with her sister and co-chair, Shirley Sakelaris, share a passion for the fight against cancer. Their mother died of ovarian cancer 49 years ago.

The other co-chair, Pat Madler, lost her father and both of her husband’s parents to cancer.

“Everyone has been touched by cancer,” said Moore. “That’s why it’s (the Relay) so big.”

Prior to the public kick-off, a special dinner for cancer survivors and their caregivers was provided by Fidelity.

Keynote speaker for the evening was Fallon County resident, three-time cancer survivor and mother of five sons, Carolyn Hadley. (See sidebar.)

The all-night event is actually the culmination for many of the teams of nearly a year of fundraisers. Of the 18 teams registered for the event, the top fundraising team for 2012 was Team Griffith, which raised over $40,000. At present, the teams have raised funds totaling over $109,000. The books on this year’s event, however, do not close until August 31. Those wishing to donate may contact Shirley Sakelaris at 406-778-3503.

Each hour of the night’s relay featured a different theme with some great walking tunes provided by DJ Vaughn Zenko. Kathy Newell coordinated the live entertainment. Several vendors provided opportunities for the walkers to stay nourished. Some teams erected tents along the edge of the track so some of their team members could sleep while others walked through the night, and then trade places later in the night.

“I know and love our community, and I want the best for them,” concluded Chair Linda Moore, “that’s why I do this.”