Relay For Life kicks off Friday night in Steamboat Springs |

Relay For Life kicks off Friday night in Steamboat Springs

Breast cancer survivor Doris Ross, of Florida, waves a flag during the Relay For Life survivor lap in 2010. This year's event kicks off Friday at the Steamboat Springs High School track.

— As 10-year-old Izaac Kinnison finishes an intense round of chemotherapy in Denver, his "alien fighters" are making final preparations for Friday night's start of the Relay For Life in Steamboat Springs.

"He is a very optimistic and strong kid," said Gretchen Van De Carr, a family friend who is captain of the team doing the relay in Izaac's honor. "He's fighting that alien better than most."

Van De Carr and more than a dozen team members have raised more than $1,500 for the Relay, which raises money and awareness for the American Cancer Society.

Their team is named The Salty Dawgs.

"He's going through chemo right now, and his sodium levels are up, and he's a salty dog," Van De Carr said.

According to an online journal set up by Izaac's family at, Izaac is undergoing chemo six hours at a time for five days this week to treat a tumor discovered in his brain in May.

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"He is still giddy-happy over his upcoming camp," his mother Lisa Kinnison wrote. "He is most excited to shoot bows and arrows. Someone had asked if he was going to try horseback riding, his answer was, 'I’m going to try everything.' He is just so happy to do some of the things that he could do before, he doesn’t want to miss a thing."

Van De Carr said Izaac's diagnoses prompted most of The Salty Dawgs team members to participate in the Relay for the first time.

"Anyone can come up, even if you're not signed up," Van De Carr said.

Sarah Blakeslee, who is helping coordinate the event, said they hope to raise more than $55,000 during this year's event, which is at Steamboat Springs High School. There are 16 teams with 116 people signed up, and nearly $28,000 has been raised.

"It's shaping up really well," Blakeslee said.

The event starts at 6 p.m. Friday with the opening ceremony. The survivor lap is at 6:15 p.m. and the luminaria ceremony is at 9:30 p.m.

"It's a great time to reflect and remember why we're doing this," Blakeslee said.

The Mr. Relay competition starts at 12:30 a.m. Some male participants will dress in women's clothing and try to collect as many $1 bills possible in 30 minutes. The winner gets an oil change and a $15 gift certificate to The Hungry Dog.

Participants will walk through the night and do their last lap at 8 a.m. on Saturday. The closing ceremony will follow at 9 a.m.

"I really want to thank the community for coming together and supporting the event," Blakeslee said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email

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