Running for a reason: Annual Owen County Relay for Life raises thousands to help fight cancer

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By Molly Haines

About 200 survivors, caregivers, friends and supporters attended Friday and Saturday’s Owen County Relay For Life, in what organizers are calling another successful event.
Kelsey Lewis, a Relay For Life specialist with the American Cancer Society, said this year’s beautiful weather played a role in the success of the event.
“It went very well,” Lewis said. “We were all very pleased. There were a lot of great activities and we received a lot of positive feedback.”
By Saturday morning, Relay fundraising had reached $33,000, moving closer to a goal of $44,000.
Over 300 luminaries were sold and lined the entire track at Itron Field Friday night for a solemn time of remembrance.
“The luminary ceremony was wonderful,” Lewis said. “David (“Milkweed”) Wotier read the names out and there were a lot in attendance for that. It was a wonderful time to remember and honor those who have fought or are still fighting cancer.”
Relay teams will continue to raise money throughout the summer in hopes of reaching the fundraising goal by Aug. 31.
“We will be participating in an art auction with Elk Creek Vineyards in July,” Lewis said. “The committee will be selling tickets to that and some of the proceeds will be going back to Relay For Life.”
This year’s Relay For Life has focused on reopening the Cancer Resource Center at New Horizons Medical Center.
The cancer resource center provides information, support and wigs for cancer patients and was forced to close due to a lack of volunteers and available space.
According to Lewis, New Horizons has again agreed to provide the space for the center, which would be open for four hours a day, three days a week.
Although Relay For Life takes place once a year, Lewis said the work never ends.
“Aug. 31 is the deadline for our teams to turn in money,” Lewis said. “But we will be planning different things and will be recruiting volunteers for next year. We’re very excited about all of it.”