Relay for Life: on track to make goal

With the Relay for Life fundraising season more than two-thirds complete, Fallon chairwoman Lacey Lehman is optimistic the local event will meet its goal of $60,000.

After the two-day Relay for Life at the Churchill County Middle School, Lehman said Sunday morning that more than $44,000 has been collected or pledged, while several more key fundraising events are planned including Saturday’s annual Rockin’ the River sponsored by The Flower Tree. She said all proceeds derived from the night of music are earmarked for Relay for Life.

Erin Entwistle, community relationship manager for the Great West Division of the American Cancer Society, said several teams are still fundraising.

“I think our goal will be attainable,” she said.

Lehman, who became chairwoman when Judy Thompson “retired” late last year, said she is satisfied with this year’s event. For example, Lehman, herself a cancer survivor, said the inspiration coming from the teams has inspired her to continue with next year’s local Relay for Life. First, though, her committee will review the 2013 Relay for Life in late August when members assess the various activities.

“We’ll celebrate our successes and get feedback,” she said.

Lehman said Fallon is one of the top fundraising communities on the West Coast for Relay for Life. Fallon was recently recognized for earning more than $2 for every person who lives in the county.

Entwistle said Fallon’s Relay of Life did well with its fundraising although she considered 2013 a rebuilding year with new teams, new committee members and new events.

“We can only grow from this year,” she pointed out. “We’re building a foundation. It was a fun event. We had a new D.J. this year who brought the energy level up, and we had a younger crowd.”

Nathan Crary, store manager of Fallon’s Walgreens, said his associates enjoy supporting the community.

“We like to be involved with the health and wellness of the community,” he said “This is a big focus of our company.”

This is Walgreens’ second year of participating in Relay of Life. Already, Crary said his store’s staff is looking forward to next year and brainstorming ideas to make 2014 bigger and better at the store’s booth.

Walgreens had a variety of activities during the weekend to raise money including face painting and selling hamburgers and trinkets.

Crary said the Fallon store raised about $1,000 for Relay for Life.

In addition to Relay for Life, Crary said he is proud of Walgreens’ other community ventures. He said every October Walgreens joins Banner Churchill Community Hospital to offer information on breast cancer prevention.

Luminary committee members Paul and Michelle Herzbrun said every Relay of Life holds a special part in their hearts. They are responsible for selling luminary bags so that people can either honor cancer survivors or remember cancer victims.

Involved with Luminaria for seven years, both Michelle and Paul have been affected by relatives who have lost the fight with cancer. Paul said his father died from leukemia, while Michelle said her two grandmothers died from cancer.

“From the time we started (seven years ago), we can see the progression for cures for certain cancers,” Paul said.

Michelle became involved in Relay for Life when some teachers at Cottage School formed a team. From there, Michelle became involved with the Rely for Life committee.

Paul considers the Luminaria celebration one of the best parts of the relay.

“Once the bags are lit up around the track, we remember and celebrate peoples’ lives,” he said, adding that between 325-350 bags have been placed around the track by volunteers from Naval Air Station Fallon.

The Herzbruns said they are impressed with the time and effort people decorate the white bags to pay their respects to survivors or victims. Michelle said some people attach artwork of those being honored. Paul said people even take pictures and glue them on the bags and also spend time designing the bags.

“Some parents even get their kids to help them remember family or friends,” Paul added.

Since their involvement with Luminaria, both Michelle and Paul said they have heard of positive stories of people beating cancer. Sadly, though, they have both seen “In honor” bags from previous years become “In Memory” tributes.


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