Steamboat Relay For Life kicks off Friday |

Steamboat Relay For Life kicks off Friday

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.

— Michele Friedmann attended her first Relay For Life event last year in Steamboat Springs, less than two years after she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 25.

Today, she is recovering from her cancer and working with other survivors to make this year's relay a success.

"When you're diagnosed with a disease like cancer, you need to find a way to fight back and show people that there is still hope," she said.

She has raised more than $1,200 of her $1,500 goal for this year's relay.

Five volunteers from the Yampa Valley are organizing this year's event in Steamboat, which begins Friday at the Steamboat Springs High School track on East Maple Street. Last year, the organizing committee included at least 20 members. But this year's organizers, who are receiving help from four volunteers from the American Cancer Society, insist the 2011 event still will draw a crowd.

"I went to one event and just got hooked," said organizer Phyllis Harrelson, who is helping to put together a reception for cancer survivors Friday night. "You see a luminaria ceremony, and you know that it's very healing for people involved in the event. The relay makes a difference and helps people who are fighting cancer or someone who has lost someone remember that person."

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Harrelson said this year's fundraising efforts for the American Cancer Society include bake sales, a raffle for a hot air balloon ride, garage sales and a photo-op with a cardboard cut out of President Barack Obama.

"But I just fundraise the traditional way and ask family members and sell luminarias," Harrelson said.

Steamboat's 20 relay teams have raised $32,326 toward their $130,000 goal. Last year's event raised $127,905 for cancer research, education, advocacy and patient services.

Relay volunteers said they think this year's relay hasn't generated as many donations because of a poor economy and other cancer fundraisers in the area.

"I'm not sure it's attainable, but we're going to try to reach our goal," relay financial committee Chairwoman Cindy Svendsen said. "Even if we don't reach our goal, even $50,000 will still be helpful for cancer research. We'll be walking all night long."

Janeen Bonacci, an executive director for the American Cancer Society in Colorado Springs, was in Steamboat on Wednesday helping to organize the relay.

"This year's event won't be as big as it was before, but we're going to make sure people have a good night and sign up and want to be a part of it."

To donate or register for the event, visit

If you go

What: Relay For Life

Where: Steamboat Springs High School track on East Maple Street

When: 6 p.m. Friday to 7:30 a.m. Saturday



4:30 p.m. Team and survivor registration opens, luminaria sales and bank open

6 p.m. Relay opening ceremony

6:20 p.m. Survivor lap

6:30 p.m. Team lap with team picture on the track

6:30 p.m. Kids Carnival Opens

6:45 p.m. Survivor reception

8 p.m. Ciao Gelato party

8:15 p.m. Relay “Idol” (karaoke)

9:15 p.m. Teams light luminaria (bring lighters)

9:30 p.m. Luminaria Ceremony of Hope

10 p.m. Mr. Relay contest

10:30 p.m. Routt County CattleWomen chili served

11 p.m. “Let’s Make a Deal”


1 a.m. Pajama judging contest

2 a.m. Scrabble lap

3 a.m. Poker lap

5 a.m. Bank opens

6 a.m. Wake-up call

6:30 a.m. Lions Club breakfast begins

7:30 a.m. Closing ceremonies/final lap

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