Crawford County Relay for Life celebrates successful 2017 event
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Hundreds of people gathered in the Grayling City Park on Saturday to put their best foot forward in the fight against cancer.
The Crawford County Relay For Life was held in the park from 11 a.m. to midnight. Dozens of Relay for Life teams had tents set up in the park, where they hosted games and offered items through fundraisers for the event. Participants made laps around a paved trail in the park.
The theme this year was “Manufacturing a Cure,” to recognize all of the manufacturing done in the Crawford County area.
Samantha Karoub, from the Friends for a Cause Team, wore a cake-shaped dress and delivered singing telegrams with a flower to raise funds.
Karoub said her grandparents and an aunt have battled cancer.
“It’s really important to me because I don’t like that it’s such a big thing and not everybody knows the details of how to fix it,” she said. “I really like that we can all come together as a community to stop something that is so big.”
At noon, a cancer survivor and caregivers luncheon was held inside the Grayling Nature Center in the park.
Grayling residents Patti Trudgeon has had bouts with thyroid cancer and cutaneous lymphoma (skin cancer).
Trudgeon, however, said she takes part in Relay for Life to honor her sister, Cheryl Mott, who battled Adenoid cystic carcinoma for 19 years. She died in 2005 at the age of 42.
“What I went through was nothing compared to what she went through,” Trudgeon said.
Linda Robel, a resident of Lachine located near Alpena, was diagnosed with Squamous cell carcinoma – form of skin cancer – a year and a half ago.
“It’s not the worst – it’s the second worst,” Robel said of her skin cancer diagnosis.
Robel had surgery to have the abnormal growth of cells removed.
“We have to keep an eye on it and I’m susceptible to getting it anywhere pretty much,” she said. “I go to the dermatologist every six months and he zaps a few things every time.”
Following the luncheon, a ceremony to recognize survivors and caregivers was held and laps were walked on the Relay for Life course to recognize those who have battled cancer.
Russ Robel, Linda’s husband, said the laps recognize people who are cancer survivors, people currently diagnosed with cancer, and those who have succumbed to the disease.
“We just want to endure some of the pain and suffering they have gone through by walking as much as we can and as long as we can, so we kind of get a feel of what they’ve been going through,” Russ said.
The couple was part of the Relay for Life team from Cooper Standard, a manufacturer of automotive parts with plants in Gaylord and Fairview.
While much of the activities are for fun and entertaining to keep people’s minds off of the stress and loss from cancer, staff from the Grayling Cancer and Infusion Center were on hand at the Relay for Life this year to offer support and education.
“We are local and we are here to support our patients and the community,” said Shirlee Andrews, a staff nurse for Grayling Cancer and Infusion Center.
Located on the campus at Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital, the Grayling Cancer and Infusion Center has been in operation for four years.
“It really has made a difference, and we are proud that we’re are able to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Annette Moshier, the supervisor for the Grayling Cancer and Infusion Center. “It cost a lot of money, when you’re sick, and you just need checkups. Traveling to Traverse City is very difficult for a lot of people. We are so glad that we are able to offer oncology in Grayling. It’s been fantastic way of treating people, where they can afford to come and get fantastic care.”
As of Saturday, there was $28,180 raised toward the Crawford County Relay For Life goal of raising $37,500 for 2017.
Crawford County Relay For Life has an online fund-raiser through Schwans-cares.com, where they will donate 20 percent of online sales toward this year’s goal. Teams have until August 31 to reach the goal.