Relay for Life tops $165K

John Irwin
Lacy Derigo and Shawn Statler of team Grey Matters circled the Greencastle-Antrim High School gym during the Relay for Life. JOHN IRWIN/ ECHO PILOT.

Wookies, Jedi and storm troopers traveled from across the galaxy Friday and Saturday for the "Star Wars"-themed Greencastle Relay for Life "May the Cure Be With You."

Due to inclement weather, Relay officials made the decision to move the American Cancer Society fundraiser from Kaley Field indoors to the Greencastle-Antrim High School gymnasium.

“This year the decision was made to move the event inside,” said Bev Kristine, publicity chair. “The idea of setting up the big tents outside was not a good idea.”

Although the location was moved, the inspirational atmosphere remained the same from the first laps late Friday afternoon to the closing at noon on Saturday.

Rain also did not put a damper on fundraising. The goal for the 2018 was $165,100 and the total stood at $165,750 by the end of the Relay on Saturday. Money that comes in through Aug. 31 will be credited to the final tally.

“The rain is really a great metaphor for the cancer experience,” said Kristine, a 25-year breast cancer survivor. “It’s not something anyone wants to see, but just like cancer, it enters your life and it’s all about what you do when things like this happen. What's really important is gathering together and supporting each other.”

During the opening ceremony, cancer survivor Jenny Lauthers shared her story of battling both thyroid cancer and breast cancer.

“If people took one thing away from my speech, I want them to know they are not alone, your life will be different,” said Lauthers. “Stick together and stay educated. One of the most important things to remember is that you have to get your mind right, you have to have the mindset that you are going to beat this.”

Jim and Debora Forbeck of Marion were among those in attendance Friday evening. Debora is an ovarian cancer survivor and Jim was diagnosed in 2006 at the age of 38 with stage four Glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain tumor.

“When I first found out, I thought I would be planning a funeral before his 39th birthday,” Debora said. “Most people don’t live past a year, but he just celebrated his 50th birthday.”

“They call me the miracle man,” added Jim, who makes spreading cancer awareness a top priority. He plans to attend three more Relay for Life events this year, including one on June 8, at Norlo Park in Fayetteville

“I Relay because I believe in God, and what the organization does for us,” he explained. “I love sharing my story and listening to others share their stories.”