Seeing 68 survivors at Relay makes the hard work worth it

Published 7:31 am Wednesday, July 29, 2009

To the editor:

On July 18 and 19,the 2009 Cass County Relay For Life was held at the Dowagiac Union High School APEX (Athletic and Physical Education CompleX) track.

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraising event.
It is a team-based event that raises money for research, education, advocacy and services.
Our annual event was a tremendous success, raising  $69,000 to date!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors: Accounting Consultants Inc., Beeson Street Bar and Grill, Benny’s Barber Shop, Borgess- Lee Memorial, Breseman Farms, Canopeum, Cass Family Clinic, Chain Lake Missionary Baptist Church 1838, Creative Vinyl Signs, DesignWare, Dowagiac Union Schools, Dowsett Chiropractic Health Center, Dr. James Eckman, First Church of God of Cassopolis, Fox 28, Greater Niles Community Federal Credit Union, Hale’s True Value Hardware Inc., Haley’s Septic Service, Hampshire Country Club, Jim D’s Body Shop, Judd Lumber Co., Kemner-Iott Agency of Cass County, Leader Publications, McLauchlin-Clark Funeral Home, Michiana Recycling and Disposal, Midwest Energy Cooperative, Moore Brothers Enterprises Inc., Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Royal Realty LLC, Saylor’s Pizza Dowagiac/Niles/Watervliet, The Beat Goes On DJ Service, VFW Post 1855 and Ladies Auxiliary and Wolverine Mutual Insurance Co.

We appreciate your support!

Thanks also to our teams who worked so hard all year long to raise money, they did a great job! Apostolic Lighthouse, Beeson Street Bar and Grill, Benny’s Barber Shop, Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital, Cass Family Clinic, Chain Lake Missionary Baptist Church, Creative Foam, Curves of Dowagiac, Dowagiac Schools/Sister Lakes Elementary, Dudes Crusaders, Family Fare, Four Winds Casino TDP Program, House of Prayer, House/Jones Family, In Memory of Ted Bakeman, Inn Between Bar/Grill, Keeler Krusaders Keeler Church of God, Kemner-Iott Agency/Cass, McDonalds Cass/Dowagiac,¬† Midwest Messengers, North Red Hill 4-H Club, Pokagon United Methodist Church, SMC Staff, Sparks for Hope, Survivor’s Team, Survivors and Friends, Talk of the Town, The Greater Niles Stars, Walkin Guardian Angels, Wolverine Mutual Insurance Co. and Zeke’s Team.

Thank you to the Dowagiac Schools for your facility!

Peg Stowers, Hal Davis, Dave Daniels, Debbie Heeter, Deb Rohdy and all of the maintenance guys. You were so helpful all year! Thanks.

We have some great young men in our community.

The Dowagiac football team was a huge help to us this year!

They helped teams carry, set-up, and tear down and emptied all of our trash bins at the end of the Relay. They were a great group of young men. We hope to see you back next year! Thanks to them and Coach Stanger for all of their help! GO CHIEFS!

At the opening ceremony, Peggy Davis, a cancer survivor, was our speaker. You are a “Hero.” Her husband, Marlon Davis, sang a song with her. You guys are great. Thanks for your inspiration!

Miss Dowagiac Shelby Willis and Olivia File, second runner-up, were judges for some of our “Academy Awards.”

They also did crafts and had their pictures taken with some of the kids. Later in the day Shelby was our auction helper.

Thank you to our local “Princesses,” as the little girls at the Relay called them.
At our Luminary Ceremony cancer survivor Joan Gaideski was a speaker for us. Joan was the speaker at our kick-off held earlier in the year, and is a team captain also. Joan, you are truly an inspiration to all. Thanks for everything!

In addition, Samantha Craft spoke at the Luminary Ceremony. She told us how it feels to be a preteen and have a grandparent diagnosed with cancer.

Samantha, you did an awesome job! I’m proud of you!

Thanks to Bev Dodd and the students from Sister Lakes Elementary School for their art work to give our survivors.

Pastor Scott Saylor from my church, Keeler Church of God, did the opening invocation and our Sunday morning church service. You did a wonderful job. Thank you so much!
Once again Bill Craft, “The Beat Goes On,” was our 24-hour DJ. Thanks for staying up with us!

Thank you to John Eby from the Dowagiac Daily News. And thanks also to WGTO Radio Station.

Thanks to Rick and Nance Myers for being our survivor greeters in the morning. And all the other duties that you helped with! Nance, thanks for all of your support all year long!
Curt Rohdy, our line marker and tent helper. Thanks so much. John Minor and Julie Willis, for being tent helpers and your other duties, I thank you!

A lot of planning and work goes into an event this size and that is where the committee comes in. Diana Bower, co- chair, Becky Craft, Bill Craft, Glenn Feirick, Annabelle Harris, Sara Hartsell, Maria Hernandez, Julie Hollingsworth, Bobbi Lowe, Danielle Lucas, Maxine McNary and Pam Hughes, our American Cancer Society staff partner.

Thanks to all of you!

One member of our committee, Denise Leach, passed away suddenly the weekend before Relay. Denise was our raffle chair and she did a great job! We will miss her and we thank her family and friends for sharing her with us this past year.

I want to thank my family for all of their time and support throughout the year. My parents, Ron and Evelyn Bakeman, my children Beth Feirick, Tim and Abbie Feirick, my grandson Justin Feirick, “the littlest walker on the track,” and my husband Glenn. I couldn’t have done this without all of you!

A huge thank you to our 68 survivors who attended!

When I see you on the track it makes all the hard work worth it! May God bless all of you.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Relay.

No matter if you played a large or small part, you made a HUGE impact on our Relay!

If I forgot anyone I’m truly sorry. I do thank everyone involved!

See you at the 2010 Relay for Life of Cass County!

Cathy Feirick
Chair Cass County
Relay For Life

Donations can still be made to The American Cancer Society Relay For Life by visiting or mailed to 1400 W. Milham Ave., Portage, MI 49024 Attn: Cass County.