American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life is Friday

On Friday at 6 p.m. at Dodger Stadium, the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Webster County will kick off with a special Survivors Lap, a moving experience honoring those who have fought and survived cancer. Survivors will join together to take Relay’s opening lap, unified in victory and hope, while the rest of the event’s participants surround the track to cheer them on.

From close family members to friends and co-workers, we all know someone whose life has been touched by cancer at some point. With the progress being made on all fronts by the American Cancer Society, the number of cancer survivors is growing every year. Thanks to early detection and more effective treatments, millions are going on to not only survive the disease but are leading incredibly full and inspiring lives. Indeed, there are more than 12 million cancer survivors living in the United States.

Relay For Life is a unique grassroots fundraising event in which individuals and teams of participants in nearly 5,100 communities worldwide walk around a track united in the fight against cancer. Relay provides the Society with money to support vital, cutting-edge cancer research, currently funding 12 cancer research grants in Iowa for the amount of $6,267,000. Funds raised through Relay also provide cancer patients day-to-day help through Look Good … Feel Better (help with appearance-related side effects of treatment), Reach To Recovery (emotional support for breast cancer patients), transportation and free lodging at our Hope Lodges. The American Cancer Society publishes lifesaving literature on cancer prevention, detection and tobacco control and continues to develop a new generation of medicines that help those battling cancer.

The Relay For Life is a tremendous event for our community to come together to honor the people who have fought or are currently fighting cancer and are surviving. It is very uplifting to see a family member, friend, co-worker or former teacher walk that first lap and proclaim “I am a survivor.” It is also a very emotional evening as we pay tribute to those individuals we have lost to this disease and pledge to continue the fight until we find a cure. Webster County is not immune to this disease and by participating in Relay, we are joining with the American Cancer Society’s efforts to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

Relay brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, faith-based groups; people from all walks of life – all aimed at celebrating the lives of those who have had cancer, remembering those lost, and fighting back against the disease. If you are a cancer survivor or caregiver and would like to take part in the Relay For Life of Webster County, please call Craig Schlienz at (515) 571-0684. All survivors receive a free Relay For Life Survivor T-shirt. There will be a special reception area designated for all survivors and caregivers during the event.

A special Luminaria Ceremony will be held at 10 p.m. during the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Webster County. The hundreds of personalized luminaries lit around Dodger Stadium’s track will help us remember those lost to cancer and honor those who have survived. Anyone desiring to make a luminaria donation may do so by contacting Sherry Collins-Ruge at (515) 576-1475 or Luminaria forms and bags may also be picked up at First State Bank, Fort Dodge Ford-Toyota, or Great Western Bank. Each luminaria candle is $10 and the money goes towards the fight against cancer.

“Each luminaria represents the life of someone who has battled cancer. It is a beautiful sight when all the bags with candles are illuminated around the track,” said Collins-Ruge, volunteer luminaria chair. “The Luminaria Ceremony is a moving way to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to pay tribute to cancer survivors.”

We complete the Relay experience with our Fight Back Ceremony, where we make a personal commitment to save lives by taking up the fight against cancer. Fighting back is your personal commitment to do something as simple as getting a routine screening, quitting smoking, or talking to elected officials about cancer. By taking action, people are personally taking steps to save lives and fight back against a disease that takes too much.

Why Relay? Because I believe that The American Cancer Society Relay For Life represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated. Relay For Life is more than just a fundraiser; it is a life-changing experience. At Relay, every person in the community has a chance to celebrate, remember, and fight back. And every person who participates joins others around the globe as part of this worldwide movement to end cancer.

No matter why you take part in Relay, one thing is clear: with every step you take, you are helping the American Cancer Society save lives. With your help, we aren’t just fighting one type of cancer – we’re fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. Each person who shares the Relay experience can take pride in knowing that they are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten the lives of our loved ones or claim another year of anyone’s life.

To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at (800) 227-2345 or visit For more information about making a luminaria donation, forming a Relay team or walking in the Survivors or Caretaker’s Lap please visit

Craig Schlienz works at Great Western Bank as a branch manager. He is the chairperson for the Relay For Life of Webster County Steering Committee. For more information on how you can volunteer or get involved, please contact your ACS Community Relations staff partner: Tina Coleman – Phone: (515) 341-3564. Email: