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PR-B Area Relay For Life is Friday at high school track

This year marks the 10th year of the Relay For Life returning to Pine River-Backus.

Our relay is small in comparison to some, but it doesn’t lack for enthusiasm from the teams and the survivors. This small group of people has made a difference in the lives of cancer survivors by securing more than $ 190,000 in donations over the past nine years.

Evelyn Burley from the Burley Bunch of Longville has historically been the leading individual fundraiser, but last year Sandy Roscoe, also from the Burley Bunch, surpassed her. Hunt Utilities Group has been a staunch logo supporter of the event since the second year and we greatly appreciate their support.

The Relay For Life is an overnight fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. Teams consist of eight to 15 people and can be from work, church or family and friends. Each team member is asked to raise $100 and can do so by selling luminaries in honor or memory of someone who battled cancer during their lifetime.

The theme for each year is to celebrate (the survivors), remember (those who lost their battle), and fight back (by raising funds for future research and cancer patients).

The gate opens to the public at 5 p.m. with the opening ceremony honoring our area survivors beginning at 7 p.m. The opening ceremony is upbeat and celebratory — we are inspired by the cancer survivors. We add all the years of survivorship together, which provides HOPE for all.

The luminary ceremony takes place at dusk and the mood of the event shifts to that of remembrance. We light candles at our Memorial table to remember those whom we have lost in the last year and then light the luminaries that will be our guide as we walk throughout the night.

We invite all to take a few laps and read the luminaries and reflect on the lives lost to this disease. We then change our music and our mood — we will continue to walk and raise funds to fight this disease. We will do this for our loved ones that we have lost and for those that are facing this disease now.

By continuing to do so, we are fighting back against cancer and doing what we can for our loved ones.

This is our 10th year back and we have 10 teams who have been working hard to raise funds and plan their campsite activities. The teams invite you to join them after 5 p.m. Friday, June 21, at the Pine River-Backus High School track for a carnival type atmosphere. The campsites will have food such as pizza, chili/Fritos, pulled pork sandwiches and chips, hot dogs, pickle-on-a-stick, root beer floats, cinnamon rolls, caramel corn, Special K bars, cookies and Puppy Chow, just to name a few, as well as games for the kids, glow sticks, cancer bracelets, face painting and cancer pennants.

The funds from everything sold at the campsites goes back to the relay. Lois Lees will serve as the honorary chairperson of the event. Lois was instrumental in bringing the Relay For Life to Pine River-Backus and a main force in making it a successful event. She has faithfully come each year and sold luminaries on the day of the event.

Mike Holst, Crosslake resident and author, will share words of HOPE not only as a caregiver for his wife, Kitty, but also as a cancer survivor.

All survivors are invited to attend. Please come to the center tent around 6:30 p.m. and get registered for the opening survivor lap.

Please consider coming to this fun community event, bring your family, and meet your neighbors and friends at the Pine River-Backus Area Relay For Life!

(Tina Grewe coordinates the annual PR-B Relay for Life.)