Jones Co. Relay for Life to celebrate ACS’ 100th anniversary

Posted May 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm

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PHOTO: The 2013 Jones County Relay for Life is scheduled for Friday, June 7 at 5 p.m. at Dean Nelson Field.  (Photo by Kim Brooks)


By Emily Burds, Express Intern

One hundred years later and the American Cancer Society is still celebrating birthdays. This year’s Jones County Relay for Life will recognize this momentous anniversary at the Relay on Friday, June 7, beginning at 5 p.m. with a survivor’s dinner and opening to the public at 6 p.m. with opening ceremonies.

The American Cancer Society was founded in 1913 by a group of doctors and business men who came together in New York City with a mission to raise awareness about cancer, which at the time was an extremely taboo and fatal disease. In that day and age, people diagnosed with cancer often didn’t even know they had it, as their doctors did not bother to tell them their almost guaranteed death. Originally ACS was named the American Society for Control of Cancer until the name was changed in 1945.

Today the American Cancer Society is one of the world’s leaders in cancer research and research funding. From their 900 local offices across the nation and close work with thousands of hospitals, they help cancer patients and their families in the fight against cancer.

This year’s Relay will be a working testament to how far ACS has come in the past 100 years and of course will celebrate the many lives that have been saved and lost to the cancer battle. Jones County will also be seeing a new Relay time this year, as the committee has decided to host the event from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. with closing ceremonies starting at 10:30 p.m. This is a change from the normally overnight Relay.

Immediately following 6 p.m. opening ceremonies will be both the survivor’s and caregiver’s laps as well as the team recognition lap. This year’s honorary survivor and caregiver are Monticello residents Linda and Bernie Schatz. Linda is a Stage 4 ovarian cancer survivor who is currently battling against the disease with the help of husband Bernie. Both spoke at the Relay for Life Kickoff celebration this past March.

The silent auction will also begin at this time and will run until 7:30 p.m. right before the opening of the live auction at 8 p.m.

The auction will include a variety of items like two handmade Relay for Life quilts made by Barbara Catlett. Other items include gift baskets and certificates from local businesses as well as a Radio Flyer wagon and an extra large teddy bear provided by Rick Meyer at State Farm.

Andrea Goedderz, a senior community relations director for ACS out of Dubuque, and her committee of local volunteers worked all year long to create a Relay for everyone to enjoy. Goedderz is new to the Jones County event this year but was supported by long-standing committee members.

“Jones County has a lot of passion for this fight,” Goedderz explained. “It’s great to see it growing and expanding. People have really come out of the woodwork to help with this event. It’s inspiring.”

As always the Relay is fun for all ages. Kids will be able to enjoy activities including late night swimming for $5. Live music will be performed by Merle and Harriett McGrew of Springville, starting at 6:30 p.m. Other entertainment includes a performance by the Monticello Dance Club and a presentation by Fritz Tae Kwon Do.

The luminaria ceremony is slated to start at 9:30 p.m. Participants will have the opportunity to make bags at the event for a donation and the names of those who are either in memory or in honor of will be read during the ceremony.

This year’s shorter time frame will allow people to see a lot more going on in a shorter amount of time. “This means an energetic several hours,” Goedderz said. She added that she is looking forward to seeing all the different types of people who come out to the Relay.