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23 teams ready for Relay for Life

Submitted photo Nobles County Relay for Life survivors gathered Tuesday night at the survivors' dinner at Worthington's American Reformed Church. Above: a collection of hand prints of cancer survivors is shown.

WORTHINGTON -- Last year's Nobles County Relay for Life was the most successful year in terms of fundraising, and organizers are hoping for another big event tonight.

The 14th annual Relay kicks off late this afternoon at the Nobles County Fairgrounds and continues through early Saturday morning. Relay chair Kim Lambert is optimistic about how fund-raising will go when all the totals are added up.

"We've got 23 teams, seven of which are new this year, so that's pretty cool," Lambert said. "Informally, we're hoping to raise $93,000. That's what we raised last year, and last year was a big jump. We were hoping to raise about $65,000 last year and we ended up taking in over $93,000."

There are some variations on the schedule for the Relay this year; most notably, the traditional survivors' dinner on Friday evening took place Tuesday at American Reformed Church.

"There's not going to be solid program from 7 to 10 (p.m.)," Lambert said. "We're not going to announce each survivor's name, but we'll be displaying a slide show for all the survivors."

Slides will typically include a survivor's name and how long they've been cancer-free.

Sharon Kelly of Worthington, the honorary chair of this year's Relay -- which has the theme, "Celebrating a World with More Birthdays" -- will speak during the 7 p.m. opening ceremony. The ceremony will also include an invocation, introduction of corporate sponsors, a butterfly release, survivor walk and more.

"There's then actually going to be some free time probably from 8 to 9 that will give people a chance to walk the track, check out the campsites and check on their silent auction bids," Lambert said. "We'll come back at 9 o'clock for the Remember ceremony, and we'll have a moment of silence and light the luminaria."

Completely new this year will be a 7 a.m. closing ceremony on Saturday morning. The Rev. Richard Ricker of Worthington's First Lutheran Church will lead a worship service at that time.

"Hardly anybody stays all night, but we're hoping people come back at 7 a.m. for the closing," Lambert said.

Plenty of food will be available at the Relay, as Lambert noted there will be more of a variety to eat due to the rescheduling of the survivors' dinner. Cheesy turkey sandwiches, grilled hot dogs, and angel food cake and strawberries are among the numerous items available, and "glow jewelry" such as necklaces and bracelets will also be available.

Here's the Nobles County Relay for Life schedule:

Hockey arena: 5 to 7 p.m. Smart Shop; 5 to 10 p.m. silent auction.

Outdoor stage: 5 p.m. -- Team campsite sales begin. Food, jewelry and other items for sale. Vote for favorite campsite themes. Entertainment by Bruce Dysthe.

7 p.m. -- Opening Ceremony including introduction of county chairperson; invocation by the Rev. Mike Zaske; National Anthem; Honorary Chair Sharon Kelly; introduction of corporate sponsors; survivors' ceremony; butterfly release; survivor walk; caregiver ceremony and walk; team introductions and walk.

Dusk -- Luminaria Lighting Ceremony including "Point of Light" by Mark Loosbrock; moment of silence, luminaria lighting; all team walk; Guitar Hero competition.

7 a.m. -- Closing ceremony, the Rev. Richard Ricker. All team walk/team totals to be announced.

7:30 a.m. -- Clean-up (volunteers appreciated).

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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