Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Relay ‘fights back’ to tune of $85,473

“We fight back when we Relay!” said Relay For Life advocacy chairperson Richard Johnson of Lexington during his Fight Back speech Saturday morning at the end of the 16th Annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Dawson County.

This year Relay For Life teams fought back against cancer by raising a total of $85,473 and putting one foot in front of another throughout the night.


“We completed this Relay season with half as many teams as last year, but teams proved their determination and commitment with so many fundraisers and even door-to-door requests,” said Pam Ackerman, publicity chairperson. “It has been an awesome Relay year!”


“We can be proud of this community effort to raise money for the American Cancer Society research, education, advocacy and patients services programs. Each person makes a difference in the fight against cancer right here in Dawson County, Nebraska.”

Twenty teams with 200 registered participants completed the overnight walk at Kirkpatrick Memorial Park in Lexington. Attendance soared to an estimated 400 during the night’s program.

“We also had about 10 million crickets show up for an hour or two,” Ackerman said. “No one knows where they came from and no one knows where they went. Some of them probably went home wrapped up in our tents!”

Lexington Mayor John Fagot welcomed the crowd during opening ceremonies followed by the flag raising by Boy Scout Troop 144 and National Anthem by Deanna Floe of Cozad. Pastor Megan Morrow of Lexington gave the invocation.

A “sea of purple” survivors participated in the Lap of Hope which kicked off team walking. The 85 survivors followed 2010 honorary chairpersons Donna Flint of Lexington, Cindy McKeone of Cozad and Becky Gibbens of Gothenburg.

Balloons filled the air at the half-way mark when survivors met their loved ones and caregivers as all celebrated their victory over cancer.

The second lap was dedicated to Brenda Gilg of Cozad who’d lost her fight with cancer soon after accepting the honorary chairperson nomination. The Cozad FCCLA Pink Ladies led Brenda’s Lap and everyone was invited to follow in memory of Brenda.

At dusk, the luminaria ceremony began with 10-year-old Shelby Headley of Gothenburg telling her Relay For Life story. She described how she was inspired to fight cancer by her fourth-grade teacher Becky Gibbens.

Gibbens joined Shelby on stage for a tearful hug and described how faith and friends helped her through her fight with cancer.

A special slide show with photos and names of everyone who was honored or remembered on the 1,100 luminaria bags completed the ceremony.

Corporate sponsorship continues to be an important part of the annual fundraising effort, Ackerman said. The 2010 corporate sponsors included:

Sword of Hope ($1,000 or more)—First Bank & Trust, Co., Eilers Machine & Welding, Inc., Homestead Bank, Orthman Family Foundation, ServiceMaster Inc., Tenneco Monroe, Walmart.

Platinum ($500-$999)—Car-Bar Cattle Company, Davis Family Dental, The Feed Store, Nebraskaland Kansasland, Platte Valley Auto Mart, Security First Bank, Tri-County Hospital

Gold ($250-$499)—Bradley E. Brandenberg & Associate, Plum Creek Motors, Inc., Pony Express Chevrolet, State Farm Insurance (Heidi Bazata)

Silver ($100-$249)—City of Lexington Employee Committee, Kirby Plumbing Inc., Downey Drilling Inc., Dairy Queen, Lexington Newspapers, Tyson Fresh Meats, Arlan Ackerman Construction, Barmore Drug Store, Doran Post and Associates, Beatty Trucking Inc., Linden’s Plumbing, Blase-Strauser Memorial Chapel, David W. McNally CPA, Reynolds-Love Funeral Home, Daniel D. McClenahan DDS.

Bronze ($50-$99)—Drive-In Videos, Mac’s Short Stop, James J. Graff DDS PC, Cozad Alfalfa Inc., Baldwin Filters, Homestead Bank, Lexington Family Eye Care, Cozad Dental Clinic PC.

Relay Luminaria Inflatable Screen Sponsor—Beatty Trucking, Inc. of Overton

Relay Luminaria Supplies Sponsor—Tri-County Hospital Jeans On Friday Fundraiser

Many other individuals and businesses donated money, goods and/or services to make the Relay a success.

The following achievements were recognized:

Fundraising Club Awards

Gold Club ($5,000-$9,999)—FCCLA Pink Ladies, Women’s Cancer Support Group Garden of Hope 1 & 2

Silver Club ($3,000-$4,999)—Care-N For the One You Love, FUMC, Plum Creek Medical Group, Relay Angels, RSCS, The Block Party.

Bronze Club ($1,500-$2,999) Brave Hearts, Family Night Out For a Cure 1 & 2, Grace Lutheran and The Church Ladies

$1000 Club Individuals

This year’s $1000 Club members raised a total of nearly $13,000. They were Pam Ackerman, Eva Dawn Smith, Barb Margritz, Christina Wagener and Grace Molina, all of Lexington; and Chris Barnes, Verla Montey, Peg Butler, all of Cozad.

Top Individual Fundraisers

Top Adult—Pam Ackerman, Lexington, $2,854

Top Youth—Jessica Deterding, Eustis, $398.25

Top On-Line Fundraiser—Chris Barnes, Cozad, $1,300

Spirit Award—Shelby Headley of Gothenburg received recognition as the person who best exemplifies Relay enthusiasm and commitment.

Top 6 Youth Teams

1st—FCCLA Pink Ladies, Cozad, $6,808.50

2nd—Family Night Out For A Cure #1, Gothenburg, $3,026.17

3rd—Maids On A Mission, Lexington, $2,455.56

4th—Family Night Out For A Cure #2, Gothenburg, $1,618.41

5th—Rolling Meadows 4-H Club, Eustis, $1,305.18

6th—Cool Kids, Cozad, $1,095.73

Top 6 Adult Teams

1st—Women’s Cancer Support Group Garden of Hope 1, Lexington, $8,156.92

2nd—Women’s Cancer Support Group Garden of Hope 2, Lexington, $5,710.00

3rd—Plum Creek Medical Group, Lexington, $5270.00

4th—Care-n For The One You Love, Cozad, $4,634.35

5th—FUMC, Lexington, $4,399.70

6th—The Block Party, Lexington, $4,322.90

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