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A ‘Relay in Time’ marks ACS' 100th birthday

Posted: Tuesday, Jun 25th, 2013

photo by Jerry Thompson Cancer survivor Sherry Yoss tells her story during the Relay for Life opening ceremony Friday.

The 100th birthday of the American Cancer Society was celebrated Friday, with the main message emphasized that more and more people are surviving cancer each year due to the efforts of “Relay for Life.” This year’s army of volunteers for the South Lane County 24-hour event at Lincoln Middle School brought in $48,500.

“You are affecting people all over the world,” ACS representative Charley Johnson told the “Relay for Life” audience. “The money goes to Lane County, but also research and alternative treatments.”

Johnson praised the Cottage Grove group for its “amazing energy” and added that the ACS has a partnership with the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center in Eugene, which has served over 700 cancer patients in the last year and a half.

Community relationship manager Kimberly Olson, who staffs four relays in the state of Oregon for the ACS, shared that continual progress in the fight against cancer is being made.

“There are now 400 more birthdays each day,” Olsen stated. “Previously one of three of those diagnosed with cancer survived. Now two out of three live.”

Some of the top money raisers for South Lane were: South Lane County Fire and Rescue ($2000 raised in one day with their “coffee for a cure” efforts), Community of Christ in Lorane (over $2500), Lincoln Middle School (450 students on relay field day raised $4000). The most money was brought in by Kerns Cabinets and Construction with $5028.

This year’s event, co-chaired by Brett Woods and Gary Manly, was full of activities, beginning with the survivor’s walk at 6 p.m. The theme this year was “relay through time,” and each hour popular music throughout every decade of the past 100 years was played through the public address system. The “Mr. Relay” contest, in which guys dressed as women and collected pledges ($820 was raised) was a new event this year. The traditional luminaria ceremony was at 10 p.m., there was a scavenger hunt at midnight and also a “Back to the Future” movie trilogy was shown on a big screen into the wee hours of Saturday morning.

The honorary cancer survivor this year was Cottage Grove’s Sherry Yoss, who has quite a story.

“I had stage four colon cancer, and then in April of 2012, it went to my liver,” said Yoss. “It was big, and it was mutated, and my odds were real slim.”

Yoss ended up going to Portland for treatment. A new chemotherapy treatment was used, and she was told the odds were 60-40 it would work.

“It worked, and I got surgery, and it was removed,” Yoss said. “I went through chemo again, finished the first of March, and I’m doing great. I have really good family support. My family and friends are awesome. I had to go to Portland three times per week sometimes, and they fought over who got to take me!”

Many at the “Relay for Life” event come to support loved ones. Such was the case of 17-year old Darren Houle from Lorane.

“My track coach, Steve Grube, has been battling cancer, my grandmother died of cancer and two members of my church have cancer,” said Houle. “If he could, he (Grube) would be running with me.”

For the complete article see the 06-26-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 06-26-2013 paper.

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