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Published June 13, 2010, 12:00 AM

Relay for Life: A dusk-to-dawn remembrance

Despite drizzling skies, the luminarias burned. The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Clay County was held from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

By: Sherri Richards, INFORUM

Despite drizzling skies, the luminarias burned.

The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Clay County was held from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

As of Saturday, the total raised was $62,710. Forty percent of the money raised goes to research, said Kathy Watt of Glyndon, Minn., co-chairwoman of the event for the third year.

The Clay County Relay had 30 registered teams and 500 participants, Watt said. Many community members also came to show their support during the all-night event.

“The general public was really out for us,” Watt said.

Co-chairwoman Deb Gifford said it was the best turnout the event has had, and more people stayed overnight than any past event.

Watt said it’s significant that the event stretches through the night.

“It’s to represent the cancer person’s journey,” she said. “You go through the darkness of the night and hopefully in the morning when the sun comes up you’ve gone through your cancer journey. You go from dusk to dawn.”

The event was the first Relay for Life Dulcie Hoff of Moorhead has attended since her daughter Tiahna died of leukemia in 2006 at 9 months of age.

“I think for the first time last night I realized I am the daughter of someone who fought cancer and I am the mother of someone who fought cancer,” she said Saturday. Her mother died 10 years ago of cancer.

Hoff shared Tiahna’s story and sang a lullaby she wrote in remembrance of her, titled “What Is it Like In Heaven?”.

She said taking part in the event was emotionally raw, but healing. “I think with every healing step there is a price to pay,” she said.

The Relay for Life has become a signature event for the American Cancer Society. A relay was also held Friday in Crookston, Minn.

This month, there will be events in Forman, N.D., and Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes, Minn. The Fargo Relay for Life will be July 30 in Oak Grove Park.

Watt, whose sister-in-law and father both died from cancer, said the event’s popularity stretches worldwide.

“It just focuses on the aspects celebrate, remember and fight back,” Watt said.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556

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