Cancer survivors, community rally at Relay for Life in Carson

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Ann Kauf and Bobbi Pickles of Dayton took a stroll Saturday as this year's Relay for Life began, looking laid back but talking serious stuff.

Kauf wore the purple T-shirt that showed she is a cancer survivor. Pickles, in white, was joining in on the second Relay for Life lap around Carson High School's track and football field complex because she is a veteran caregiver for loved ones with cancer.

Kauf is a veteran in her own right, both of such fund-raising events and long-time survivorship. "I've been doing this for 20 years," said the 44-year survivor of thyroid cancer.

Kauf has participated in such fund-raising events the past decade in Nevada and the decade before that in California. She and Pickles are among those that Relay for Life organizers call passionate about the cause. They definitely are.

Pickles twice set aside her own life, for example, to help people in her family cope with cancer after it was diagnosed.

"I went to Missouri this time last year to take care of my daughter," she said. Pickles was away from Dayton for six months and reports that her daughter is doing well in her first year of survivorship.

Earlier, however, Pickles lost a brother-in-law after spending more than six weeks in 2008 helping her sister deal cope with the upheaval that can stem from the disease. Her brother-in-law, she said, had been diagnosed with stage four cancer.

"And if it comes up again, I'll do it again," she said. "Even a friend, I would help."

The Relay For Life event began at 2 p.m. Saturday and runs into today with teams walking around the high school track to raise money, others selling items at booths, also in a bid to provide funds for the cause.

Mayor Bob Crowell, who survived prostate cancer, was on hand to speak and then lead the opening lap with other survivors. Only the purple-shirted group made that initial circuit.

Crowell said without such events and Carson City's fine cancer treatment facilities, people like him would face leaving the community during a difficult time."I'm a stage 3 prostate cancer survivor," he said. He said he has been cancer-free for six years.

Joining in the throng encircling the football field on a later lap was Anna Gonzales of Reno. She was decked out with a colorful hair-do -- including purple fluffs -- and pushing her 11-month-old son, Jackson, in a stroller. They were on hand to show support for survivors and caregivers.

"I used to be the staff partner for this relay," said Gonzales, who is with the American Cancer Society. "I like this event and I wanted to support it."

On hand for the event's opening was the Mile High Jazz Band. Other entertainment was set throughout the night and on Sunday. Among the groups were the Capital City Community Band, the Youth Theater Carson City Showstoppers, and Jen Passas yoga/kickboxing.

The American Cancer Society's Relay For Life program is held across the globe with folks participating up to 24 hours.


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