'No Place Like Hope'

Sue Gaudiane has two special reasons to celebrate her participation in Relay For Life this weekend.

On Saturday, Gaudiane will mark both another milestone in her recovery from kidney cancer, while pausing to remember the death of a brother who died from cancer complications.

Gaudiane is serving as a team captain of the Greater Nevada Emerald City Slickers, a 23-member group that plans an all-night walk at Centennial Park to raise money for cancer research in the American Cancer Society's largest annual fundraiser.

Fittingly, the event takes on a Wizard of Oz-like theme this year, "There's No Place Like Hope."

"It's a cause that's close to my heart," said the Greater Nevada Credit Union employee. "When you're going through chemotherapy and losing your hair, you're often helpless, and this is a way to fight back."

This year's Relay For Life events in Carson City will bring together 35 teams ranging in size from eight to 62 individuals. Even with a tough economy this year, chairwoman Joyce Whitney-Silva is expecting to raise $100,000 in Carson City.

"I don't think the economy has impacted the number of participants," she said.

The events begin Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m., with a first lap scheduled after 6 p.m.

The relay will be complemented by a number of events throughout the evening, into the night and ending after the sun rises on Sunday. A luminaria ceremony takes place at 9 p.m. Saturday, followed by a talent competition, an obstacle course and pajama contest early Sunday morning.

The event includes an all-night movie tent with family-friendly fare Saturday evening and flicks for more mature audiences as the night progresses.

Though there will be portions of the event that should cast a serious tone on the night, it's also a chance for people to bond and share stories, Whitney-Silva said.

"It's pretty rare at this event not to talk to someone who has not been impacted by cancer," said Whitney-Silva, who lost her mother to cancer when Whitney-Silva was 20. "This is all about getting survivors together."

Gaudiane believes this is her chance to do all she can to conquer the disease.

"If this is a way to fight back, to prevent someone from going through what I went through, I'm all there," she said.

- Contact reporter David Mirhadi at dmirhadi@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1261.


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