24-hour Relay for Life kicks off Friday

Posted: Thursday, June 01, 2000

Local organizers plan an all-night party during the Relay for Life 2000 fund-raiser to support cancer research and education and aid Alaska cancer patients.

There will be a prize at 3 a.m. for the noisiest team, said Kathy Lopeman of Oncology/Infusion Services at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna. There will be a prize for the best costume, and there will be food and music.

Lopeman said the first central Kenai Peninsula Relay for Life was last year. That drew 43 teams and raised $39,000. This year, organizers already have distributed 150 registration packets. Lopeman said she expects at least 100 teams to register and hopes to raise at least $50,000. Each team pays a $25 entry fee and also collects pledges from sponsors.

"The Relay for Life is a team event that brings the community together in the fight against cancer," she said.

Opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. There will be a cancer survivors' ceremony, and survivors will walk the first lap. Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley, Soldotna Mayor Ken Lancaster and Kenai Mayor John Williams will walk the second lap.

"For the rest of the 24 hours, one person from each team will be on the track," Lopeman said.

A long list of local musicians, dancers and story tellers will provide entertainment. Hobo Jim is slated to sing. The Chase is Over, famous for its breads and turkey chili, will provide food, Lopeman said. McDonald's will provide healthy salads and muffins, and the Kenai Lions Club will serve breakfast. DeBest Water Co. will supply bottled water.

There is a solemn side. Anyone who likes can buy a luminary in memory of a loved one lost to cancer or in celebration of one who survived. Those will be lighted at midnight.

Lopeman said 52 percent of the money raised will stay in Alaska to provide patient services. Much of that goes for transportation -- flying village cancer victims to medical facilities in the cities, flying Alaska victims for treatment Outside.

The local share also funds prostheses, such as artificial breasts following mastectomies. It funds cancer support groups, prevention materials and detection and treatment programs. The national share goes for activities such as cancer research and education.

Lopeman said teams can sign up until 6 p.m. Friday. For information, call her at 262-8114.

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