Relay for Life smashes goal

  • Sierra Hoffman, Hanna Bauer and Kiera Quinto at the Relay for Life LuminariaCeremony. [photo by Patric Hedlund]

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    Sierra Hoffman, Hanna Bauer and Kiera Quinto at the Relay for Life LuminariaCeremony. [photo by Patric Hedlund]

  • Glowing luminarias were placed along the Relay for Life track June 22 to remember those who have battled cancer. The track was at Frazier Mountain High School. Participants walked through the night. [photos by Patric Hedlund]

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    Glowing luminarias were placed along the Relay for Life track June 22 to remember those who have battled cancer. The track was at Frazier Mountain High School. Participants walked through the night. [photos by Patric Hedlund]

  • [photo by Barry Ailetcher]

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    [photo by Barry Ailetcher]

  • [photo by Patric Hedlund]

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    [photo by Patric Hedlund]

  • [photo by Patric Hedlund]

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    [photo by Patric Hedlund]

  • Kay Chilano remembered her husband Joe Chilano with quiet tears. [photo by Patric Hedlund]

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    Kay Chilano remembered her husband Joe Chilano with quiet tears. [photo by Patric Hedlund]

  • Setting up the luminarias took teamwork, but visiting them was a personal experience for many. See more photos from the event in The New Mountain Pioneer for July. [photo by Patric Hedlund]

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    Setting up the luminarias took teamwork, but visiting them was a personal experience for many. See more photos from the event in The New Mountain Pioneer for July. [photo by Patric Hedlund]

By Patric Hedlund

The first Relay for Life of the Mountain Communities was a powerful event. June Schmidt, who fought breast cancer with stubborn courage and relentless humor, applied those talents to make what she calls “our baby relay” into a smashing success.

Schmidt had strong partners. Dee Bumgardner, Jamie Bauer, Mary Schmidt, Karen Schott, Sylvia Iannucci, Hannah Bauer, Angela Muki, Scott Parsons and countless dozens of others brought the 24-hour event from a dream to a vision, and then to a profound success.

The ambitious fundraising goal for this first-ever local Cancer Society Relay for Life drive was $25,000. But $31,000 was the amount raised by the friends, families, neighbors (and unexpected angels) who participated June 22-23 at Frazier Mountain High School.

The funds are used to assist Mountain Community residents who are battling cancer. A percentage is also devoted to seeking a cure for cancer.

Schmidt spoke about the meaning of the Luminaria Ceremony: “Luminaria is a time to reflect on the people who have suffered through this, to honor those who have survived, and to remember those who have not.

“Each luminaria is representing a person, someone’s loved one and family member. While this is a beautiful display of remembrance, it also means that too many people from our community have been touched by cancer.

“The Luminaria Ceremony was tough. A lot of people were very emotional, many were crying. For some it is cathartic.

“The whole relay was amazing; so many people popped up out of nowhere and said ‘I can help you do that’—from Scott Parsons as D.J. to people who came to help take away the trash. The Cancer Society has a framework and they want you to have certain things at the event. But it is supposed to be what our own community wants it to be. I learned there are a lot
of amazing people out there.”

This is part of the June 28, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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