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Pope County Relay for Life is this Friday

A special luminaria ceremony held during the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Pope County will remember those lost to cancer and honors those who have survived.

Hundreds of luminaria will be lit along the relay track at the Pope County Fairgrounds this Friday, June 19 at dusk (around 9 p.m.) to represent these individuals.

Anyone desiring to make a luminaria donation may do so by contacting committee members: Michelle Moore at Glenwood State Bank (Glenwood office), (320) 634-5111; Diane Meyer or Nancy Pederson at Glacial Ridge Health System, (320) 634-4521 during business hours.

Each luminaria is available for a $10 donation and will be available the night of the event as well. The luminaria may be decorated with markers, pictures, memorabilia or simply the name of the loved one. Participants are encouraged to write the words "in honor of" or "in memory of" as appropriate on each bag.

"It is just beautiful when all the bags with candles are illuminated around the track," said Diane Meyer, committee member. "The luminaria ceremony is such a moving way to remember our loved ones lost to cancer."

Relay For Life will begin with a "survivor lap" immediately after the opening ceremony, which starts at 6 p.m. This emotional lap honors the courage of all who have defeated cancer.

This year's honorary survivors are Liz Dorn and Brenda Sargent, both of Glenwood. They will share their personal stories of triumph at the opening ceremony.

Following the survivor lap is a "caregiver lap" and then the rest of the participants will join the rally until Saturday, June 20 at 6 a.m.

Cancer survivors (anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer) may register in advance online or by calling Katie Kluver at 1-800-239-7028. Registration is also available the night of the event from 5 to 6 p.m. Survivors will receive a special T-shirt.

Relay For Life is a fun-filled, unique fundraising event in which teams of participants take turns walking the track overnight in an effort to fight cancer.

Participants gather with campers, tents and sleeping bags to participate in the largest fundraising event in the nation and to celebrate the lives of those who have had cancer, remember those lost, and fight back against the disease.

Teams seek sponsorship prior to the relay, all with the goal of eliminating cancer.

The Douglas County Relay for Life is set for July 10-11.