‘A little rain won’t stop us’
Fundraising dollars continue to pour in just like the buckets of rain Friday night at the 15th Annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Dawson County. On Monday, the total stood at $85,000.
“I am so proud to be associated with such hard working, dedicated people doing the important work of fundraising to fight cancer,” said Coleen Favinger, event chairperson. “It if had to rain, all of us wish it would have waited until after the luminaria ceremony, but someone else was in control of the timing!”
The weather on Friday started with some gusty breeze, but many considered it a “beautiful day” for the relay. Preparations began early in the morning with committee members organizing and setting up for the expected crowd.
Thirty-two teams set up camp sites in preparation for the night’s activities. The silent auction started and stylist Judy Weston of Lexington started clipping long pony tails for Locks of Love.
Cancer survivors and caregivers gathered early in the evening to spell out a message of HOPE on the St. Ann’s Parish Center lawn before kicking off the relay with 105 walking in the survivors lap.
Leading the survivors were four honorary chairpersons including Richard Johnson of Lexington, Stephanie Block of Lexington, Nancy Callahan of Cozad and Nancy Aden of Gothenburg.
Lexington school superintendent Todd Chessmore cheerfully kissed the pig as the winner of a Kiss the Pig fund-raiser. Teams opened up fundraising games at campsites.
Through it all, many kept an eye on weather maps displayed on cell phones or listened to radio forecasts.
Relay participants hopefully watched a clearing in the western sky as guest speaker Theresa Baack of Kearney took the stage for the Fight Back Ceremony. Her last words were “A little rain won’t stop us...” when the driving storm hit from the north and swirled around tents and trees.
Everyone scrambled for some kind of cover whether it was a lawn chair or a Relay For Life banner hanging on the bandstand. Garbage bags and tarps quickly covered electronic equipment and people hung on to canopies and tents as the wind, rain and hail swirled around.
Streams of water found low spots in the park and flowed through tents, soaking occupants, sleeping bags and supplies.
After the downpour, weather reports indicated another wave was expected in 45 minutes so organizers cancelled the event. Teams packed up and called it a night.
“But, we are not done!” Favinger said. “We need to finish the relay with a flair. Everyone has worked very had to make our Relay a success.”
A special meeting is being planned to continue the Relay Luminaria Ceremony and team awards.
The complete results with team awards, totals and corporate sponsors will be announced at a later date.