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Well-traveled purple toilet helps flush cancer

Teri Vance
tvance@nevadaappeal.com

Carson City’s Relay for Life has an new, albeit unlikely, ally: toilets.

Throughout the past two months, three purple toilets have traveled more than 200 miles to homes and businesses in the area, raising money for cancer research.

“They’ve been all over Carson City. It’s just a riot,” said Kathi Haynie, team leader for Med Direct’s Relay for Life team, which raises money for the American Cancer Society.

Haynie, clinical coordinator for the urgent care offices, was the first victim of the toilet scheme, organized by team members Julie Vale and Jeanette Glauner, who read about the fundraiser on the organization’s website.

Haynie’s husband discovered the purple throne in their front yard as he was leaving for work early one morning. Haynie read the sign explaining that it was a fundraiser for Med Direct’s Relay for Life, with instructions to call a particular phone number.

She couldn’t figure out who had placed it there from her own team. When she called the number, her employees disguised their voices, acting as if they didn’t know who she was.

“It was just baffling,” Haynie recalled. “I’m gullible anyway, but they really had me going.”

Once she figured it

out, she thought it was a great idea.

For $10, recipients can have the toilet removed. For $15, the toilet will be removed and sent to the home or business of the recipient’s choice, and $25 will do all of the above along with ensuring it will not return.

Glauner, who is in charge of picking up and dropping off the toilets, said most people have received it in the playful nature it was intended.

“Out of everyone, only four people have been upset,” she said. “The rest have been wonderful.”

Home Depot donated two toilets to the cause and the sanitation department donated the other. However, only two of them remain after one was unceremoniously taken to the dump by a disgruntled recipient.

Still, the fundraiser has helped the team raise $3,386 so far, contributing to Carson City’s $43,340.58 total up until now.

Stacey Dutra is grateful for the work they are doing.

Dutra joined the Relay for Life’s celebration for cancer survivors three years ago. It was just eight days after her final chemotherapy treatment for colon cancer.

“I walked in that survivor lap, and I was so incredibly moved by the support from my entire community,” she said.

This year, she is co-chairwoman of the event, along with Michelle Bertocchi.

“It’s so encouraging for us to see the money we’re raising in the Relay for Life – the strides we’re making in finding a cure,” Dutra said.

She saw the progress in her own treatment, where she didn’t have any hair loss or vomiting and continued to work 35 hours a week.

“I know a lot of that is from the work of the American Cancer Society,” she said.

With less than two weeks to go before the Relay for Life, she encouraged the community to get involved.

The Relay for Life will run from 5 p.m. July 17 to 9 a.m. July 18 at Edmonds Sports Complex.

It will be a carnival-like atmosphere with games, Guitar Hero and karaoke competitions, hula dancing, obstacle courses and more.

Anyone interested in forming a team still can do so at carsonrelay.org or on the day of the event. Donations also are still being accepted by teams around town or on the website.

Dutra especially invited all survivors, from those who have recently been diagnosed to those living in remission, to sign up for the first lap of the relay.

“It’s a powerful couple of minutes as you walk around the track being encouraged by people who are celebrating your survivorship,” she said. “I wish every survivor could experience that.”