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Moab’s Relay for Life to be held Aug. 7-8 at GCHS
By Jeff Richards

Moab’s fourth annual Relay for Life will take place starting Friday evening, Aug. 7 and last until the next morning. The all-night community event, which raises money for the American Cancer Society, will once again be held on the football field and track of Grand County High School, 608 South 400 East, Moab.

The event will kick off with preliminary festivities, food, and games between 5 and 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7, said Moab Relay for Life chairman Shon Walter. Although admission is free, donations are encouraged, since the relay is primarily a fund-raising event.

“It’s a community event, and everybody is invited to attend,” said Walter. “You don’t have to walk laps around the track. We just want people to come out and enjoy the ceremonies and be part of the Relay for Life experience.”

“One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime,” Walter added, citing statistics from the American Cancer Society. Walter added that the three-fold mission of Relay for Life is to “celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that takes too much.”

Between 8 and 8:30 p.m., Moab’s event will officially kick off with an opening ceremony, which will include the lighting of a caldron with a torch and a “Survivors’ Lap” around the track. Local cancer survivors who desire to participate should call Walter at 259-5626 or Tara Richardson at 259-1500 beforehand. Participating survivors will be fed appetizers and light refreshments beginning at 7:30, prior to the opening ceremony, and will also receive a free T-shirt.

Other special ceremonies planned for Friday night include a “Fight Back” ceremony between 9 and 9:30, followed by a “Luminaria Ceremony” and a “Ceremony of Hope” between 10 and 10:30.

“Each of the ceremonies throughout the night has its own special purpose to highlight the importance of fighting cancer,” said Walter.

Entertainment acts will also take the stage at various times during the evening and into the early hours of the morning, Walter said, adding that several time slots are still available. “We’ll probably just play recorded music after about 1 a.m., with the volume turned lower, of course,” he said. “But we’d love to have people willing to share their talents on stage.” Anyone interested in performing during the event should contact either Walter or Richardson.

Moab City has officially proclaimed Aug. 3-8 as “Paint the Town Purple Week,”” in recognition of this year’s Relay for Life. Once again, local merchants will decorate their store windows and display fliers, signs and banners in support of the event.

“We appreciate the ongoing support of local businesses that help make Relay for Life a success,” said Walter, adding that additional sponsors are still needed to donate products or to host a vendor booth, or both.

As of late July, there were 15 teams registered for Moab’s 2009 event, and more are invited to join, Walter added. Alternatively, people can join an existing team or they can support the event without joining a team.

Volunteers are also being sought to help with the setting up and taking down of the event, which will conclude with a “Sunrise Ceremony” and breakfast between 6 and 7:30 Saturday morning, followed by the closing ceremony between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

“The relay lasts all night to illustrate the fact that cancer never sleeps,” Walter said, adding that many of the team participants will pitch tents on the field and take turns walking around the track for the duration of the 12-hour event.

Last year’s Relay for Life in Moab netted approximately $33,000 for the American Cancer Society. Organizers hope to top that amount this year, which also marks the beginning of the 25th year that the American Cancer Society has conducted Relay for Life. Over 3.5 million people nationwide participated in Relay for Life last year. For more information about Moab’s event, enter “Moab, Utah” at the web page, then click “Event Website.”

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