Relay for Life Greencastle takes on new meaning for Stottlemyers

PAT FRIDGEN
Barry Stottlemyer ran the Albuquerque Half Marathon along with his nephew, Greg. His brother, Dale, ran the 10K. Barry’s pink bandana carried his wife Mandy’s name in honor of her fight against breast cancer.

Cancer hit close to home for Barry Stottlemyer, so this year he chose to put his six-year running habit to good use. He raised funds for the Greencastle Relay for Life by participating in the Albuquerque Half Marathon on April 21. His wife Mandy, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2010, accompanied him. She was the cheerleader while Barry, 47, ran the 13.1 miles with his brother Dale and nephew Greg, who live in New Mexico.

"I thought it would be cool if someone could benefit from the run, besides me just punishing my body," he joked. "We've experienced the benefits of Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society."

He sent emails to friends asking for financial support because he was a good guy, then upping the amount if he finished the race, more if he hit his goal, and finally, if he didn't need a wheelchair at the end, to empty their wallets. The friends were generous, and at last count, Barry had raised $1,275.

The long run was his second, with his debut in Gettysburg last October. That time was 1:59. Barry blamed his southwest time of 2:29:24 on the altitude and dehydration.

The run was a family affair since the Albuequerque event was an opportunity to challenge Dale, who was successfully meeting fitness goals. Dale ran the 10K to celebrate a 65-pound weight loss, and Greg joined Barry. The money was channeled through another brother's team. Alan is a member of the Trailblazers

The Stottlemyers support the cause of RFL and can relate to the 2012 theme "Show Us Your Hope".

"Mandy is doing extremely well," said Barry. "She had surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. We are disappointed we can't be here."

The couple cannot attend the May 18-19 event in Greencastle because their daughter Diana graduates from college that Saturday.

Relay for Life begins at 4 p.m. Friday and organizers hope to raise $221,000. The 24-hour walk occurs at Kaley Field. Opening ceremonies are at 6 p.m. followed by the Survivors and Caregivers laps. The Luminaria Ceremony is at 9 p.m. On Saturday activities, special laps and raffles are on the schedule, including the Greencastle Alumni Band performance at 12:30 p.m. The closing ceremony is at 4 p.m.

Because Kaley Field now has artificial turf and a resurfaced track, visitors must heed new regulations. No heels are allowed on either surface. Food and drink are also prohibited. And the luminaria will be glow sticks instead of candles.