De Soto ready to step up for cancer
De Soto's seventh annual Relay for Life will begin at 6 p.m. Friday at Lexington Trails Middle School. Events during the overnight relay will celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones and raise money for the American Cancer Society.
A luminaria ceremony at 10 p.m. is designed to remember those who died of cancer and to celebrate those who have survived the disease.
This year's event chairwomanis Rita Jones.
Jones said she first got involved with the Relay for Life to honor her grandmother, grandfather and two bosses who died from cancer.
"Cancer touches everyone in some way," she said. "This is an important opportunity for the entire community to come together for a common cause and get involved."
Businesses, hospitals, civic groups, neighborhoods, families -- or anyone else who wants to -- can sign up relay teams. During the overnight Relay, team members walk or run around the track in shifts until closing ceremonies at 6 a.m.
There are also games and other fun activities on the side.
Lori Murdock, a De Soto cancer survivor and six-year Relay for Life veteran, said the Relay was an event for the whole community.
Everyone was welcome, she said, even if they just wanted to stop in for a little while.
One of the event's highlights is the survivor lap, a time for all cancer survivors to take a trip around the track together. The lap is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Murdock, who walked in the Relay as a survivor for the first time last year, said that was the most touching part of the night.
"Words cannot express the love and support I felt as I walked that survivor lap," she said. "This is an event that everyone should take part in, and everyone will go away feeling glad they were a part of it."
The Relay raises money through donations. Jones said each team member is asked to raise at least $100 from donors before the event.
Last year, 20 teams participated in the Relay and raised their goal of $25,000. They included 265 team members, 35 local cancer survivors, and hundreds of other community members, Jones said.
This year, De Soto's fund-raising goal is $30,000.
For more information about the De Soto Relay for Life or to make a donation, call Murdock at (913) 583-1117. Nationwide, contact the American Cancer Society at (800) ACS-2345 or www.cancer.org.