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RELAY BEGINS: Event to ‘scare away cancer’ in June

February 12, 2014

Relay for Life participants gather to receive information on the Whitley County event slated for June 7 at Indian Springs Middle School. The theme for this year’s event is “Scare Away Cancer” and will feature a Halloween concept during the 24-hour walk.

COLUMBIA CITY — After several weather delays, Whitley County’s Relay for Life participants stepped into action Feb. 1 with a kick-off party.
Each year, team captains, past participants and volunteers gather to announce the theme and event particulars for the 24-hour walk to raise awareness and funds for cancer research and patient services.
For the relay, slated June 7 at Indian Springs Middle School, the theme is “Scare Away Cancer.”

Moving forward, plans for the event will be made in relation to the theme. As in years past, the walk-a-thon will feature themed laps that tie into the overall concept of the walk — this year, Halloween.
Participants can expect to see costumes, candy, pumpkins and other Halloween decorations at the walk.

“The theme makes the day so much fun,” said Committee Chair Cathy Cronin. “It gives us something to look forward to each hour of the walk.”
Those at the party learned more than just the event’s theme. Team captains and participants were able to learn more about the Relay for Life organization, its efforts and the impact it has on local cancer patients and survivors.

Now that the party has ended, it’s time for teams and event planners to go to work coordinating all the details for the big day, as well as raising money for the cause.

However, Co-Chair Tammy Gross has a specific mission ­— survivor participation. There are several laps made during the walk-a-thon that honor cancer survivors. Whether it be applauding the care-givers that stood by a patient or remembering those who were lost to the illness, the relay celebrates survivors.

“Who do you know that is a cancer survivor? We want to invite them to come out to the event,” Gross said. “We want to cheer them on and support them.”

Gross not only has a heart for survivors, she is a survivor and knows first hand the encouragement that comes from seeing other women and men fight back against the illness.

“There is power in numbers,” she said. “When a group of survivors come together, there is a special bond. It gives that person who was just diagnosed a positive message that they too can survive.”

Survivors, care-givers and participants who want to walk can still form teams or chose to operate alone. To register for the event, visit or email Gross at


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