Carson City and Douglas County have something in common with the colors red and blue.
When the two are combined, they create purple – a symbolic color to represent the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life program.
For the first time together, both districts launched their 2017 Relay for Life fundraiser at Empire Ranch Golf Course on Wednesday night.
They will compete as one team at the annual celebration for cancer survivors at Mills Park scheduled for May 20 from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. The goal is to raise $55,000 before the event.
“We’re doing our best to unite the community,” said Mary Bowers, event coordinator of Carson City-Douglas County Relay for Life. “Just because we combined, you didn’t give up an identity.”
Sydney Folin of Minden has been involved with the program for 11 years after she lost two family members to cancer. She said she feels fortunate to continue the program with another city.
“I’m sad that Relay for Life won’t be in Douglas this year,” she said. “But I’m grateful Carson City invited us and I’m excited to join them.”
Terra Maddox of Carson Tahoe Health also has been involved for 11 years. As a breast cancer survivor, she said a combined team is what both communities need.
“I think all counties in the region should consider uniting in this,” she said. “I see patients from all over. The more, the better.”
Although the Relay for Life is the largest fundraiser with the American Cancer Society, the get-together was more of a way to recruit and encourage new members to get involved, and learn about the event. Members of Carson City’s Salvation Army also attended in support.
This year, Randy Richardson of Reno was the Hero of Hopes speaker.
He shared his 18-year survival story about colorectal cancer and how he got involved with Relay for Life.
“What you do saves lives,” he said. “Possibly your own life, a friend’s, relative’s, stranger’s, or even mine.”
Helping others inspires Josh Herup, 15, of Douglas High School. Even though the night of the launch also was his birthday, he was happy to attend his first supporting event.
“It feels good to help others,” he said. “Whether it’s raising money or awareness, anything helps.”
To register for the event or contribute donations, visit relayforlife.org/carsoncitydouglasnv.