Friday, October 4, 2013

Relay for Life of Alamogordo/Otero County-American Cancer Society

September 28-29, 2013

Relay for Life of Alamogordo/Otero County, a fund raising event for the American Cancer Society, was held Saturday and Sunday, September 28-29 at Alamogordo High School. Teams are formed through local businesses and other organizations. Each team has a monetary goal to reach which may be met through personal donation, subscription by their sponsoring organization, contributions from friends and neighbors, or by group fundraising projects conducted by the team as a whole.

In the relay, teams walk, jog, or run, in relay fashion, around the AHS track. The object is to have at least one member of the team on the track at all times. The relay is an overnight event beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and ending at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. This represents the fact that cancer never sleeps.

Prior to the start of the relay, a  dinner took place in the AHS cafeteria for attending survivors at which the most recent, most long-standing and youngest survivors were recognized. Several survivors spoke during this dinner. The dinner was catered by the AHS food services organization and servers were members of the Junior Ambassadors.

The theme was two-fold; Survivors considered as Super Sheroes and Heroes and celebrating  ACS 100 years of cancer research. A giant (inedible) birthday cake was the centerpiece of the dinner and it was later placed at the entrance to the track.

The relay kicked off with a "Survivors Lap", in which all cancer survivors present circled the track in groups according to their range of survival years indicated by signs borne by Junior Ambassadors. The leading banner was carried by Ronda Bigger, the most recent cancer survivor, her husband, Jim, Alamogordo Mayor Susie Galea, and Louis Jeantete from the Albuquerque office of the American Cancer Society. The rear was brought up by the longest-standing survivor present, Carla Kerr, 52 years from her first diagnosis.

The opening ceremonies began with posting of the colors by an honor squad from the AHS Junior ROTC unit. The national anthem was sung by Samantha Madigan, Miss Cloudcroft's Outstanding Teen 2013. The keynote remarks were made by Mayor Galea, who then  declared the relay open. She has just returned from a one-day, 100 mile bicycle tour to Ruidoso and back. She made her ride in support of Relay for Life by gathering pledges to ACS from her supporters.

The event was organized by the Alamogordo Cancer Resource Center, which is jointly sponsored by ACS and the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center. The CRC mounted its own team, the Sassy Survivors, composed of CRC volunteers and their friends.

General Chair of this event was Nicole Tekell. Chair of  the Survivor Dinner was Carla Kerr

Food for the participants was available through the entire event from the Baker family Walking Taco Trailer, all profits going to the event. 

Setting up the Registration Booth
Nicole Tekell, Relay Chair
The Baker Family Walking Taco Trailer. They even served pancakes and sausage from 4:00 a.m. on.
The ACS Birthday Cake assembled by Delton Baker and Doug Kerr
Teresa, AHS Custodian, instructing Carla on how to use the microphone
Samantha Madigan (Miss Cloudcroft's Outstanding Teen 2013) and Raini O'Connor (Miss Alamogordo's Outstanding Teen 2013)
Junior Ambassadors and their leader waiting for the dinner to start
Carla discussing the dinner with Sue Baker, Lead Chair of the CRC
Carla greeting one of the survivors at the dinner

Entertainment provided by James Ethington, singer and guitarist
Carla introducing survivor Jacob Ruiz
Some of our dinner guests
A shot of the crowd
C. R. Walton tells his survivor story
LaTonya Boyce, Relay Entertainment Chair
L to R: Survivor Felicia Tribbel with her brother, Nicole Tekell presenting her with a sunshine bag and Jennifer Spencer, Relay Sponsorship Chair
L to R: Nicole, Carla and most recent survivor, Ronda Bigger receiving her sunshine bag
Carla with her sunshine bag received for being the longest standing survivor (52 years)
James Ethington continues to entertain
Another shot of the dinner attendees
Louis Jeantete from Albuquerque ACS talking with Carla
Brenda Smith, dinner coordinator and provider with Carla
Mayor Susie Galea just arriving from her 100 mile bicycle trip
People registering for the walk
Walkers visiting and getting ready for the relay to begin
Carla, Jerry and Kathleen or could be "a thorn between two roses"
LaTonya Boyce interviewing the two Miss Outstanding Teens
LaTonya doing a last minute check of the honor squad of the AHS Junior ROTC unit
Posting of the Colors
Samantha Madigan (Miss Cloudcroft's Outstanding Teen 2013) singing the national anthem
L to R: Mayor Galea, Ronda Bigger, Jim Bigger, and Louis Jeantete
The Survivors Lap opening Relay for Life
Carla Kerr bringing up the rear as the longest standing survivor (52 years)
Jewell Rhodes making her way with a little help from her friends in the survivors lap
Nicole Tekell congratulating her committee members on a job well done
LaTonya with Jewell Rhodes as she is congratulated for consistently raising over $2000 each year for the Relay for Life
Mayor Galea emotionally telling about her bicycle ride and how much it meant to her to be a part of this event
Some dedicated walkers going around the track at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday morning
All monies are not in yet, but so far we raised $28,000. We had hoped for more, but this is a sign of the times we are in and we are indeed grateful to everyone who contributed their time, talent and money.

Thanks to Douglas A. Kerr, Photography for the great photos.

This is all I have to say for now.

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