Cancer survivors, from left, Sandy Jenny, Jason Sear, Bev Engel and Keith Leifer participate in the Survivor Walk during the Steamboat Springs American Cancer Society Relay For Life in August at Steamboat Springs High School.

File photo

Cancer survivors, from left, Sandy Jenny, Jason Sear, Bev Engel and Keith Leifer participate in the Survivor Walk during the Steamboat Springs American Cancer Society Relay For Life in August at Steamboat Springs High School.

Relay for Life wins big

Steamboat event tops nation in per-capita fundraising

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— Steamboat Springs' 2008 Relay for Life earned more money per capita than any other relay in the country, and local organizers will travel to Reno, Nev., this week to receive awards for their efforts.

Steamboat's version of the American Cancer Society fundraiser managed to improve on its stellar performance in 2007, when it placed third in the country in per-capita funds raised.

Local event co-chairman Marvin Lindsey said Relay for Life participants raised nearly $211,000, with a net total of $204,000. The per-capita award is based on the population of the county in which the event is held, meaning Steamboat's Relay for Life averaged more than $9 in fundraising per Routt County resident.

The American Cancer Society had set a goal of $150,000 for Steamboat this year, and local organizers hoped for $200,000. The 2007 relay brought in $192,000. In 2006, Steamboat's first year hosting a Relay for Life, participants raised just more than $50,000.

"When some town the size of Steamboat and Routt County are No. 1 at anything, it's pretty amazing," Lindsey said.

There were more than 4,800 similar relays in the United States last year. Steamboat's relay, which took place Aug. 8 and 9, drew 55 teams and more than 600 participants.

Steamboat Springs Relay for Life co-chairwoman Linda Jackson and Karen Schulman, who led one of the many local teams to participate in the overnight walk-athon fundraiser, will attend the American Cancer Society's Great West Leadership Summit from Thursday through Saturday. Jackson said she expects the Steamboat contingent to bring home several awards.

"Our information is that Steamboat has placed No. 1 nationally in per-capita fundraising," she said. "I think, if we're not wrong, there will be even more good news for Steamboat."

Schulman, who led the team Focus Adventures with her husband, Joel, also is expected to receive an award. Her team raised more than $26,300.

Schulman was asked to speak at the summit and give tips to other team captains.

"I feel that it's about showing your team the motivation you have as a leader," she said.

Schulman is a breast cancer survivor who attended her first Relay for Life in 2007 just weeks after she finished a round of chemotherapy.

"It was so amazingly inspirational that before Joel and I left the high school field Saturday morning, we walked over and signed up to have our own team in 2008," she said.

"I guess the big key is that we were extremely motivated and inspired by the event, by the people, by the energy, and of course, it's an incredible cause to help find the cure for cancer."

During this week's summit in Reno, Schulman and Jackson will attend seminars and breakout sessions to learn about how the money raised by the American Cancer Society is used, as well as tips about how to make the relays even more successful.

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