Relay set to celebrate 19th year

The lighting of the luminarias as dark settles in marks the beginning of a more quiet tribute to the many people who have survived cancer or who have been lost to the disease.

This Friday walkers (and a few runners) will lace up their shoes and take to the track on the Miles Community College campus for the 19th Annual Relay For Life in Miles City. 

The event raises funds to fight cancer through research and education. This year’s Relay For Life theme is “Pack The Track With Purple.”

During the event, members of each team will take turns walking (or running) around the MCC track. One walker from each team is encouraged to be on the track at all times throughout Friday night, Aug. 15, and early morning until the end of the relay at 7 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 16. 

The teams of eight to 20 members will be walking to raise awareness of and money for cancer research and education, These funds will help the Amercian Cancer Society to meet its goal of reducing cancer deaths by 50 percent by 2015. 

Money raised during the event goes to programs/services and education for those who are undergoing cancer treatment. More than 70 percent of every dollar donated to Relay For Life goes toward cancer patients, either through research, patient programs, services used during treatment and education/prevention. The money raised not only goes to cancer research; a lot also goes to help people in cancer treatment and for prevention of the disease.

According to Alyson Murnion of Billings, specialist, Relay For Life for the Great West Division of the American Cancer Society, Inc., funds raised through the Relay For Life program are available to help Miles City residents before, during or after cancer treatment. She added there are two ACS programs currently functioning in Miles City, the lodging program and the Look Good ... Feel Better program.

Murnion said that last year’s Relay For Life event in Miles City generated $96,538, honored 77 survivors and illuminated more than 500 luminarias. The amount of funds raised put Miles City seventh in the Nationwide Per Capita 10,000 to 14,999 and second in the Division per capita. The funds also helped provide essential programs and services to many cancer patients in Custer and surrounding counties.

“In addition to local services, dollars raised during Relay For Life allow the American Cancer Society to invest in life-saving research, education and advocacy efforts,” said Murnion.

Relay For Life Committee members and other volunteers will begin setting up for the event on Friday morning at the MCC track. Vendor booths will be set up by the committee and teams near the food tent site. The booths are being set up in this area in the hopes that everyone at the relay will have the opportunity to visit each vendor.

Teams may begin setting up and decorating their camp sites and any vendor booths they may have at noon Friday at the track.

Master of ceremonies for the event is Casey Schock. Jim Howe will provide the sound system. Photography will be by BS Photography with Woody Smith.

Music from 4 to 5:30 p.m. will be by Gary Ostermiller and others. Survivor and team registration is scheduled from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. There will be a survivors reception at the track from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The reception will be sponsored by Holy Rosary Healthcare.

Studio M dancers with Mila Baker will provide the entertainment from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Food will be served on the grounds by members of the First Baptist Church starting at approximately 6 p.m. All proceeds will go to the Relay For Life. Menu items will include hamburgers, hot dogs, haystack tacos and beverages.

All team captains should be at the MCC track by 6 p.m. Friday and team members should plan to be at the track no later than 6:30 p.m.

An egg hunt will be held from 6 to 6:30 p.m. and also during that time the Miles City Caledonian dancers and pipers will provide entertainment. The cancer survivors will have a photo taken on the bleachers by the track at 6:45 p.m. Ostermiller will entertain from 6:30 to 6:55 p.m. 

At 6:55 p.m., Hope Sikorski will sing a special song and the opening ceremonies for the 2014 Miles City Relay For Life will begin at 7 p.m. with a welcome by Jennifer Sikorski, chairman of the local Relay For Life Committee, a reflection by Pastors Brandon and Kristin Willett of the First Presbyterian Church and the singing of the “National Anthem” by Alissa Stabler Haughian. At 7:05 p.m., Dave Smith, a cancer survivor, will speak. The Survivor Lap will start at 7:10 p.m. with Haughian singing the song “Overcomer.” This will be followed by the Caregiver Lap and the Team Lap with Haughian providing the music until 8 p.m. At 8 p.m., Kim Smarsh will lead the Fight Back Ceremony. Music will be provided by Erin Becker and Schock from 8 to 9 p.m. and by The Last Echo band from 9 to 10 p.m. 

The Lighting of the Luminarias will begin at 9:30 p.m. The Luminaria Ceremony honors those who have survived cancer and remembers those who have died from this disease. Luminarias may be purchased for $10 from any Relay For Life team member or committee member or at the track Friday night until 9 p.m. The luminarias lit during the ceremony will glow until they are extinguished, usually early Saturday morning. 

The Silent Auction of baskets created by Relay For Life team members and members of the community will end at 10 p.m. Also at the close of the Silent Auction, there will be a drawing for the winner of the quilt fundraiser sponsored by the Miles City Star relay team. Tickets for the quilt will be sold until 9:45 p.m.

Gary Ostermiller and others will provide music from 10 to 11 p.m. and from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, there will be various activities and music.

A lunch with walking tacos, snacks and pizza will be served starting at midnight with food donated by local merchants.

Breakfast will be prepared by the Redneck Grill around 6 a.m. and will be available in the food tent by the track.

Cool Breeze Golf Cars is providing two golf carts for transportation around the relay site

The public is encouraged to visit the MCC track during the relay to have dinner, participate in the silent auction and check out the wide variety of fundraising booths. They also may cheer for their favorite team(s), listen to the great entertainment and watch the luminaria ceremony.

For more information about the ACS Miles City Relay For Life, contact Sikorski in Miles City at 1-303-960-1175 or  Alyson Murnion in Billings at 1-406-373-8489 or 1-800-227-2345.