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Using hearts and feet to fight cancer

Walkers will go around the clock in the battle against cancer when the 2012 American Cancer Society Relay For Life® of Archuleta County gets underway with teams of residents gathering at the Pasoga Springs High School track on June 22 with Opening Ceremonies beginning at 6 p.m. The speaker for the Opening Ceremonies will be Carol Otis, founder of the Pagosa Springs Cancer Support Group, recent cancer survivor, and Relay For Life Survivor Chair.

Relay For Life events are held overnight as individuals and teams camp out at an athletic track, park or other gathering area, with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the track or pathway at all times throughout the evening. Teams do most of their fundraising prior to the event, but some teams also hold creative fundraisers at their camp sites during Relay. Relay brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, faith-based groups — people from all walks of life, all aimed at furthering the American Cancer Society’s efforts to save lives by helping people stay well, by helping them get well, by finding cures and by fighting back.

This week, Relay For Life volunteers have rallied support from local businesses through the “Painting the Town Purple.” Large purple ribbons and event poster are displayed in businesses who have pledged their support. The Relay for Life Committee would like to thank them for their generosity to further the mission of the American Cancer Society.

Relay is a unique opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember those we’ve lost, and fight back against the disease. Many of the participants are cancer survivors, which serves as a reminder that Archuleta County is not immune to this disease and that by participating in Relay, we are joining with the American Cancer Society’s efforts to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. Funds raised at Relay For Life of Archuleta County are enabling the American Cancer Society to impact the lives of those touched by cancer within the community.

Relay For Life’s Luminaria Ceremony takes place after sundown, honoring the community’s cancer survivors and remembering those lost to the disease. Participants will circle a track that is surrounded with glowing luminaria that bear the name of someone who has battled cancer. Luminaria may be purchased for $10 at the event or by visiting’ This year, participants are asked to bring a canned food item to place inside the luminaria bags; following the event these items will be donated to the local food pantries.

Also a part of the Relay For Life event is the “Fight Back” Ceremony, in which Inez Winter will inspire Relay participants with her own commitment and will challenge them to take a personal pledge of action in fighting back.

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; by helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at (800) 227-2345 or visit

The Relay For Life Committee would like to extend an invitation to the entire community to join them on Friday night, June 22, to enjoy this event. This is a free event, open to the public, and will include a variety of food vendors, live entertainment, and fun, family-friendly activities.

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