Relay For Life returns to in-person events at Hummer Sports Park
Organizers of the relay say they raised around $92,000 as of Friday morning
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Relay For Life events honoring cancer survivors and raising money for awareness was back in-person after the COVID pandemic made the last two years a virtual gathering.
Organizers of the relay say they raised around $92,000 as of Friday morning. They planned to hit their goal of $100,000 while bringing together people who have been there before and newcomers experiencing the community.
“People have not given up. Cancer still goes on and people still have to go to chemo treatments and support has continued throughout all of this,” said Shawnee County’s Relay For Life Co-Chair Shelle Arnold. “I am over the moon happy about that.”
Arnold encouraged people to try something new whether it was talking to a survivor and caregiver, or grabbing food at the vendors. She said survivors come to feel the support the community has to offer.
“There are best friends for life made out at this event tonight. If you can come for the luminaria ceremony, I was always say it’s B.Y.O.K - bring your own Kleenex - because you’re going to need it,” she said.
Friday night was host to the first “Hero Lap” that recognized childhood cancer survivors, caregivers, health care heroes, and first responders.
“It’s really fun and you can like have fun and bounce castles and all that and you can see all the healthcare workers here who have helped you with your battles,” said Londyn Hibbert.
“It feels amazing that people care about people with pediatric cancer and all these other types of cancers,” said Braylin Selk. “I’m just happy that a lot of people are out here cause they’re supportive.”
One survivor, Maxton Prill, said walking with other child heroes like himself helps raise awareness about funding for kids like them in the future.
“It’s very, like, fulfilling. People supported me when I had cancer and now people are donating money to support other kids like me,” he said.
Activities started at 6 p.m. Friday with face painting, bounce houses, human ring toss, ladder toss, cornhole, and bowling. Music was played by Steve Kyle Band and the auction tent was open for viewing. 7 p.m. kicked off the opening ceremonies. It was time for the survivor and caregiver lap, followed by their Team Laps at 7:30 p.m.
Topeka High’s drumline played before the luminaria ceremony. They had a pudding eating contest at 10:30 which was then followed by the closing ceremony.
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