The sky cleared and brought with it a nice warm day for Madison and Iron County Relay for Life's first in-person event since 2019.
"The event went very well," April Sarakas said. "We were worried about rain for a little bit, but the weather quickly changed. We had a good turn out, considering a lot of people are still concerned about COVID."
Sarkas said her favorite part this year was during the National Anthem.
"We had a survivor's husband saluting the American Flag which was hung from a Cherokee Pass Fire Department truck," Sarakas said. "We plan to have this as part of our events moving forward. The giant flag helps draw attention of those passing by. I also love the luminaria ceremony. It is always so touching, and it is nice to see survivors come together and support each other during the ceremony."
Sarakas said it was nice to be outside for a change of pace, but she does think being indoors is still better for the survivors. She said several had showed up that day but decided they could not stay very long due to the humidity.
The group is getting closer to its goal of $34,500 and is currently at almost $29,000. There are still several fundraisers planned and the group has until the end of the year to reach the final total.
Since its inception, Madison and Iron County Relay for Life has raised more than $1,000,000 for cancer research, patient support, access to life saving screenings and much more.
Some of the other fundraising events planned include; the CUREageous Kids team is selling candy bars for $1 each right now; on Oct. 31st from 8 a.m. to noon, the CUREageous Kids will be collecting change at the three-way stop at Highway 72 East and Highway OO; on Nov. 1 through 7 there will be an online silent auction, which the teams are still accepting donations for; on Nov. 7th there will be a spaghetti lunch (take home only) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Follis & Sons Banquet Hall and at this time the online auction items will be available for viewing.
If you are interested in getting involved with Madison and Iron County Relay for Life, anyone can put a team together for the 2022 season.
"You can have as few as one team member up to as many as you can get to join your team," Sarakas said. "All you need to do is have a fundraiser or two and start having fun."
Sarakas said the community has definitely made a difference with its fundraising efforts.
"Every time we come up with some new fundraising idea, the community embraces our ideas and makes it a success," Sarakas said. "We could not do this without the support of our community every year."
For Sarakas, being a part of Relay for Life is a way to show her support to her mother.
"Cancer has been a common word in my home since I was five years old, when my mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer," Sarakas said. "It was a very grim diagnosis, but thankfully she pulled through. Since then, my mother has had multiple surgeries for melanoma cancer. She has never given up, so this is the least I can do to show my support to her."
Saraks said cancer has touched so many of our lives whether you are a survivor, or someone you know and love has been through it. Relay for Life is a way for all of us to be a part of fighting back.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at firstname.lastname@example.org