The Relay for Life, a charity centered on curing cancer and helping those afflicted with it, held its annual event at the Dinosaur Courtyards Park in Vernal on Saturday.
“My older brother got our family involved in the Relay for life about 12 years ago when my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer,” said Clint Morton, one of the relay’s organizers. “About 10 years ago my mom passed away, so we continue to fight against this awful disease in honor of her and in hope for others.”
The race no longer focuses on laps, although plenty of people came to walk the track. Now teams sign up ahead of time and each team does their own fundraising throughout the year. At the annual event the teams and the community gather together for one last big party.
There was a bounce house, carnival games, opportunity drawings, and live entertainment throughout the day to entertain walkers and guests.
“The money all goes to the American Cancer Society (ACS),” Morton explained. “The ACS has a goal to reduce cancer death rates by 40 percent by the year 2035 through research. Some other programs available to patients here in the Uintah Basin are: Cancer Gift closets that provide wigs, prosthetics, and other items to people that are going through cancer, counseling, travel expenses and housing where patients and their families can live while receiving care.”
The evening continued with a victory lap for cancer survivors and a catered dinner for them and their families.
“Cancer took over my life. It didn’t care about my children, my grandchildren, my parents,” says survivor Toni Bolton. “It fights to win.” What she remembers most is how people reached out to support her and how she was able to see the goodness in the people around her.
That support was seen everywhere throughout the event. People shared stories of their own experiences with the disease, either as a patient or a family member. They swapped contact information with other patients to share advice on healthy cooking, strategies for pain relief, and human connection. And they rallied around those who have lost someone to cancer in the past.
“I often hear people say that when someone has passed away from cancer that "they lost the battle to cancer," says Morton. “I don't like that term. My Mom may have lost her life, but she stayed strong, she showed us what it means to fight and have courage. Hope and courage continue because of the examples and strength of those that came before and together we can win this fight.”
“Throughout this cancer I have been to the dark side, but I’ve learned I don’t have to dwell there,” says Ferin Young, recounting words spoken by his Mother during her battle with cancer.