Sheila Gunneson

Relay for Life for survivors’ birthdays

May 19, 2011 // 0 Comments

Event is this Friday and Saturday; every Relayer has a story by BETH ALTENA Impressive numbers—$2.46 million raised and last year over 400 cancer survivors honored in the survivor’s lap of Rockford Relay for Life—prove the event is incredibly successful, but misses the point of the real impact of Relay. Carol Delp-Korzeja said the event is about cancer survivors and the money raised is for research to fight cancer for more survivors celebrating more birthdays in the future. “It’s not about the money,” Delp-Korzeja said. “Every person has been touched by cancer, has had someone in their family fight cancer, has known someone who was lost to cancer.” Every relayer has their own story to tell and reason to Relay. Rockford’s Relay for Life is an American Cancer Society fundraiser, a 24-hour event, which kicks off at North Rockford Middle School at 3 p.m. Friday, May 19 with the Rockford Fire Department leading the first lap around the track. Events take place all evening and night, with popular favorites such as the Miss Relay event (the man dressed as Miss Relay receiving the most tips wins) with the theme of Miss Birthday Princess, and the silent Luminaria lap with luminarias dedicated in the memory of a loved one, which takes place as dusk falls over campsites and booths. Cancer survivors are the guests at Relay for Life and Delp-Korzeja hopes even more will take the survivor’s lap—one of the most emotional moments of an already inspiring event. A brunch for survivors begins Saturday, May 20 at 10 a.m. followed by the survivor’s lap at noon. “We don’t really have set goals, but if we did, I would like to see more survivors,” said Delp-Korzeja. “If we have 425 survivors, that would be wonderful.” For Delp-Korzeja teammate Karole Murphy of the Desperate Housewives team, Relay is also about survivors. She calls the event “the most gratifying, tiring and emotional 24 hours of the year. In my profession as an oncology nurse, I am witness to hundreds of people every year that have been told ‘You have cancer,’ “ Murphy described. “Many are present in my care during their battle because they need help in the fight. Some victoriously leave cancer behind, but not forgotten. They are […]