So many people and their families are affected by cancer. With the help of sponsors and walkers from all over the community, Relay For Life of Greater Valparaiso aimed to raise funds and awareness of this devastating disease. Whether it was survivors, their families, or local businesses, many groups came out to support this cause, each with their own story. This two day event was full of fun, community, and remembrance of loved ones.
The Valparaiso community came together many years ago to put on this event, and continues to hold it each year. The event raises awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society by sponsoring walkers as they complete laps throughout the two days. The event was held at the Thomas Jefferson Middle School track, and was surrounded by teams of walkers and sponsors supporting one another.
“Cancer has affected every family. Really what this event is about is coming along side our families and loved ones when they struggle with cancer. It’s about being part of that team so that they can get better and fight the disease. It’s about all of us supporting each other,” said Mayor Jon Costas.
The event kicked off with survivors taking a lap around the track as everyone cheered them on in support. Relay for Life specialist with the American Cancer Society, Wendy Mang, was among one of the survivors.
“As a survivor, Relay for Life was a great tool in healing during my time of depression after being diagnosed. It has led me to meet such amazing survivors, participants, and wonderful people that all have the same mission in mind that I have,” said Mang
The crowd was then treated to many different activities including: Zumba, a visit from the Valpo K-9 unit, contests, and various fun surprises planned throughout the night to keep everyone awake and walking.
Kim Rushmore, event chair for the Relay for Life event, shared a little more on the events efforts and goals this year.
“This year, we have 26 teams that have been raising money to help us reach our goal of $80,000. It started at 4:00PM today (Saturday) and will end 7:00AM on Sunday. Everyone has been touched by cancer in one way or another. After the first year of doing this, I feel in love and have been doing it since. It’s just a great family friendly event.
From Chevrolet to the Kiwanis Club, many groups came out as teams to support each other and finish the fight against cancer. Among one of the teams was Carson’s Crusaders. A group in support of a young boy who battled cancer. Carson’s uncle, Adam White, talked about their continuous support of the event.
“A year and a half ago, Carson was diagnosed with liver cancer, while also battling kidney disease from being born pre-mature. After receiving a double transplant, he is healthy and doing much better. We are here to support him and raise a little money for cancer relief as a whole,” said White.
This year marks the 19th year that Valparaiso has hosted a Relay for Life event. As the crowds cheered on walkers, you could feel the support from all the community members. On this surprisingly sunny day, many individuals gathered to share their touching stories and support a cause that touches so many of our lives. With the efforts of many hard working volunteers and teams, the fight against cancer continues to move forward at full speed.