KALIDA — Cancer survivors and those who supported their loved ones raised money for the American Cancer Society Friday night during Putnam County Relay For Life.
The relay was held at Four Seasons Park in Kalida. This was the first year it was at the park as it was at Ottawa-Glandorf High School in years past.
There were 19 registered teams who raised money for American Cancer Society that will go to cancer research.
This years relay theme was “Hope Fest Feel The Beat Hear The Beat.” A survivor’s and caregivers lap started off the event and a luminary ceremony led by Putnam County Knights of Columbus members was held. Participants could purchase plastic cups that had tealights inside and could write names in memory of or in honor of those who have been affected by cancer. The names on all of the cups were read during a luminary ceremony.
Pam Niese, leadership committee event co-chair, said this year’s fundraising goal is $65,000 with funds that will go to the ACS to assist with Road to Recovery and Hope Lodge programs and to help cancer patients who need transportation to appointments.
Niese’s sister died of cervical cancer after being diagnosed at her yearly Pap smear and she found out she was pregnant at the same time.
“I want to help end these types of situations from happening by supporting American Cancer Society so that research can help come to patients and their families,” Niese said.
Donna Burgei, 72, of Cloverdale, and her friend, Lois McKnight, of 57, Ottoville, both cancer survivors, participated in the relay with family members.
Burgei is a 20-year cancer survivor and was diagnosed in 1999 with Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia cancer, a rare form of Lymphoma that is in her bone marrow, blood and lymph nodes. She will celebrate her 73rd birthday Monday. She had chemo and radiation in 2000 for nine months and many times after. In 2010 she was diagnosed with a solid tumor cancer that is called diffused large B cell lymphoma. Doctors did not expect her to live, but she beat the odds.
“I had good caregivers who supported me. It is important to have this event to raise funds for research,” Burgei said.
McKnight has endometrial cancer in the lining of the uterus that she was diagnosed with in June 2000.
“My grandma died of this type of cancer. I had a hysterectomy done in Columbus and my family, friends and faith kept me strong through this,” McKnight said. She said the relay is a good way to connect with others who have gone through the same thing.
Putnam County band Red Feather and Kalida High School band entertained relayers with music and a beer tent was provided by Kalida Lions. Kids games and crafts were available as well as raffle items, a silent auction and a pie auction. A Zumba demonstrations also was part of the event and local dance teams performed.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.