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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Relay for Life raises over $61,000 for the American Cancer Society

Monday, May 14, 2012

A victory lap by cancer survivors provided the highlight of the opening ceremonies in the 17th annual Monett Relay for Life, the fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, held on Friday and Saturday morning at Burl Fowler Stadium. Survivors received applause as they walked around the track. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
The 17th annual Relay for Life was held Friday and Saturday at Burl Fowler Stadium in Monett. The fundraiser for the American Cancer Society was back in its original location, moved from South Park, due to construction of the Monett Area YMCA.

Volunteers raised $61,738.37 for the battle against cancer.

Fundraising during the event itself was more limited than past years. Eight of the 20 teams were introduced during opening ceremonies, representing the campsites set up around the edges of the track.

In introductory comments, Relay co-chairpersons Helen Ruscha and Tracy Schallert said the overnight event represents the cancer patient's journey from darkness into light.

"There is hope in a new day," Ruscha said.

The event started at 5 p.m. as campsites were established and decorations placed around the theme, "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere." Tents embraced the Caribbean accessories promoted by singer Jimmy Buffet, who wrote the popular song of the same title. The PlayPower team, placing a variety of clocks showing times around the world, won honors for having the best campsite.

Opening ceremonies began at 7 p.m. The Eagle Echoes children's choir from Purdy Elementary School sang the National Anthem. Flags were presented by cadets from the Junior ROTC program at the Southwest Area Career Center.

The first major event was the victory lap by cancer survivors. Walking behind the Relay banner, the survivors and their support team received rousing applause all the way around the track.

Teams were introduced and activities got underway in earnest.

The Tyson Foods Crowin' for a Cure team won honors for the most money raised by a corporation and the Spirit Award. The Inspired by Isaac team received honors for the most money raised by a friend/family team.

Beth Luebbering was recognized for raising the most money as an individual. Jan Jenkins from the Monett Elementary School team won honors for raising the most money on-line as an individual. The Monett Elementary School team received honors for raising the most money on-line.

Members of the $1,000 Club, for raising at least $1,000, were Luebbering, Andy Hubbert, Angie Rinker Ben Rosebaugh, Brian Hirsch, Cheryl McAnally, Christi Long, Colette Gilmore, Danny Long, Helen Ruscha, Isaac Long, Jacob Fair, Michelle Crim and Roxanne Hill.

The Gordy Klatt Award for the most outstanding committee member went to Michelle Crim.

The most laps were walked by Andy Hubbert and Josh Brown. The Rookie Team of the Year was the Hillbilly Hunters.

The moving memorial ceremony was held at 9:30 p.m. Lights in the stadium were turned out, leaving candles inside luminaries placed around the track to shine into the night. Relay participants gathered in the grandstand to watch a slide show of tributes to cancer survivors, those who have lost the fight to the diseases and honors to those who helped in the fight.

Helen Ruscha carried the torch in a lap of silence around the track. Participants followed her, carrying candles, meditating on their own experiences and the loved ones they have known who faced the disease.

One striking innovation this year was the introduction of sky lanterns, paper Chinese lanterns that flew into the night when filled with warm air from the candles inside. Suggested by Angie Rinker, the lanterns were available for sale as memorials from the Jack Henry and Associates and Cardinals for a Cure teams.

Mary and Frank Thompson, of Monett, donated part of their hair to Locks of Love to be made into wigs for cancer patients. Mary donated 11 1/2 inches of hair, and Frank gave up the 17-inch ponytail he had grown for the last 20 years. Stylists Dionne Zebert and Alexa Kristek from Christine's House of Style cut and trimmed the couple's hair from the main stage in full view of the audience.

Sponsors for this year's Monett Relay were: EFCO, a Pella company; Tyson Foods; Jack Henry and Associates; PlayPower; Countryside Care Center; Sater Pharmacy; United Country/Castle and Ranch Realtors; The Monett Times; Schreiber Foods; 3D Corporation Solutions, IMEC; International Dehydrated Foods; First State Bank of Purdy; Community National Bank; First United Methodist Church; Weiser Tents; Schallert Seed, the City of Monett; the Monett R-1 School District; the Monett Police and Fire Departments; Monett Rural Fire Association; the Monett Area YMCA; and Schockwave Mobile Entertainment.

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