Kathy Casey and Betty McWilliams take part in Saturday’s Relay for Life survivors lap at APEX behind Union High, where Casey, a seven-year survivor, used to work in the guidance office. McWilliams underwent a heart transplant 24 years ago.
Kathy Casey and Betty McWilliams take part in Saturday’s Relay for Life survivors lap at APEX behind Union High, where Casey, a seven-year survivor, used to work in the guidance office. McWilliams underwent a heart transplant 24 years ago.

Archived Story

Relay festive with Mardi Gras theme

Published 5:19pm Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Mardi Gras theme made Saturday/Sunday’s cancer-fighting Cass County Relay for Life feel like a festive party.

“Eliminating cancer isn’t going to be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is,” Co-Chair Sara Hartsell said. “It will take power and courage, money and sacrifice — just like it does to survive cancer. But it is possible. We’re here to work toward the day we don’t have to have these flags to remind us that those we love are fighting a disease that takes too much from us.

“It is our responsibility to fight back and insure we reduce the numbers of our own family members and neighbors who face cancer.

Committee members “dedicated their time and effort to make sure this is 24 hours you will not forget. Just like Mardi Gras, Relay is a celebration,” Hartsell said. “The next 24 hours celebrate survival, a tribute to the lives of loved ones in fun, friendship and fundraising. While each of us have our own reasons for being here, we have gathered as a community to make a difference in the fight against cancer. There are Relayers in 5,000 communities across America and in 19 other countries. With every step you take tonight, you will help the American Cancer Society save lives. Each person who shares the Relay experience can take pride in knowing you are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten the lives of our loved ones or claim another year of anyone’s life.

“We are making progress,” Hartsell said, “but we still have so much more work to do. This year alone, more than 1 million new cancer patients are expected to be diagnosed. More than 500,000 will die from the disease. Those are unacceptable numbers. Even more unacceptable, right here in Dowagiac, 70 people diagnosed will be our friends, neighbors, family members and co-workers. One day, no one will hear those dreadful words, ‘You have cancer.’ ”

Orange-shirted committee member Kelsey Cleveland’s team was $1,200 away from a $10,000 goal as the 24-hour event got underway thanks to months of fundraising.

 

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