During the 2011 Relay For Life at Gardner Field in Steamboat Springs participants walked around the clock to raise money.
By the numbers
$54,000: Amount raised at the 2011 Steamboat Relay For Life
$2,600: Amount raised by top individual fundraiser, Anna Fang
919: Number of laps around the high school track walked by the Crawford House team
160: Number of participants in the sixth annual event
50: Cancer survivors that walked in this year’s Survivor Lap
Steamboat Springs Emblazoned on the front of Team Seer’s Relay For Life T-shirts was the phrase “It’s all good,” a mantra of hope and empowerment for the 160 Relay participants gathered Friday evening because of a deadly disease.
The annual cancer fundraiser, which raises money and awareness for the American Cancer Society, also acts as the venue for an outpouring of community support for cancer survivors and the family and friends of those lost to the disease.
While there was a calm sense of healing at the Steamboat Springs High School track Friday, there also were plenty of smiles, hugs and greetings of, “You’re looking great.”
“It’s all good,” said Steamboat resident Bill McKelvie, a cancer survivor, repeating the hopeful saying. “After what I’ve been through.”
Relay For Life was pared down from previous events, with organizers facing a volunteer shortage.
Six people from the American Cancer Society stepped in to support the event and keep it moving forward, finishing with a fundraising total of $54,000 by Saturday morning. Twenty thousand of that total was raised in the past three days.
Last year, the event raised more than $122,000 and 380 people participated.
The donations ranged from corporate contributions of thousands of dollars to one-dollar bills left in donation bins at the event.
And the participants were offering more than their money.
They gave up an entire night to constantly walk around the track to symbolize their hope for a cure side by side with fellow community members.
“That’s what this event is all about; that’s what makes it different than other events,” said local committee member Phyllis Harrelson. “We’re so lucky to be here celebrating.”
She was part of a small but mighty committee that pulled off the event despite the volunteer turnout.
“For so many people, this is so important to them every year, it just makes you want to do it,” she said.
American Cancer Society executive director Janeen Bonacci, of the Colorado Springs office, said the luminaria ceremony Friday evening offered a calm scene of more than 800 small white bags lined up around the track, each decorated in honor or in memory of someone with cancer.
“There was a lot of healing last night,” said Bonacci, whose office oversees 42 Relay For Life events. “It was serene, like a vigil.”
Throughout the 12-hour event, at least one member of each team is supposed to be walking around the track. Games and music punctuate the night, which meant little or no rest for most of the participants.
Team Crawford House walked the most laps: 919 times around the track.
And team member Anna Fang, a breast cancer survivor, raised the most of any individual participant with $2,600.
Aside from her own diagnosis and remission, Fang said she was motivated to participate by her husband’s discovery that his family — the Crawfords, who founded Steamboat Springs — had a history of cancer.
It was impossible to walk the track without glimpsing the Crawford name on one of the luminarias.
“Hopefully, we can break the chain,” Fang said.
Survivors Lap at the 2011 Steamboat Relay for Life
Relay for Life kicked off Friday afternoon in Steamboat with a lap walked by local cancer survivors. It's often the most emotional and inspirational part of the annual Relay for Life fundraiser.
— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com