Walkers step up war on cancer
Whether drinking coffee or taking catnaps, participants of this year’s Relay for Life will do whatever it takes to stay awake for the 14-hour relay.
The relay – which began at 6 p.m. Friday – benefits local programs for cancer patients and is sponsored by the American Cancer Society. This is the second year it has been held in Carson City.
Cancer survivors walked the first lap of the relay while friends and family cheered them on.
Although not all of the participants were cancer survivors, participants said they have all dealt with cancer in one way or another.
“It touches everyone – cancer touches every family,” said Patti Sybrant, a member of the Richdel Team at the event.
Pat Williams, who works for the Cancer Resource Center at Carson Tahoe Hospital, has been fighting prostate cancer for the past 8 years.
“(Cancer) didn’t mean a whole lot to me before, but that changed dramatically in a moment,” he said.
Williams said he tried to sleep late Friday to prepare for the event, but he doesn’t think he’ll be able to stay awake the whole night.
“Leave that for the younger people,” he said. “With all my intentions, sleep will triumph.”
Some participants came prepared with sleeping bags and pillows so they could sleep in shifts.
“I brought a tarp and a sleeping bag and a pillow because my 10-year-old and I are going to camp out,” said Alyce Volberding.
Volberding’s 8-year-old son, the youngest of five children, was diagnosed with brain cancer 2-1/2 years ago. He participated in the relay last year, but wasn’t able to this year because he is at a camp for children with cancer.
Volberding said her son almost didn’t go to camp because he wanted to go to the relay.
“He was very upset that he’s missing this,” she said.
Skip Uveges traveled from Sandusky, Ohio, to participate in the relay as a member of Cathy’s Crew, a team sponsored by Carson Dermatology that was named after his sister who died of breast cancer.
“There’s nothing you can do about cancer,” he said. “This is something you can participate in.”
Ruth Adams, Uveges’ sister, organized Cathy’s Crew and traveled to Ohio earlier this year to participate in a Relay for Life there, which lasted 24 hours.
“(The relay) was pretty hard,” Adams said. “But the way we looked at it was that cancer is hard. What we do is nothing.”