It will blow you out of the water.’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 12, 2006

Staff writers

Freeborn County Relay for Life co-chairwomen Karen Rugroden and Nikki Schumaker stood on the stage in front of the grandstands at the Freeborn County

Fairgrounds at 6 a.m. Saturday with a big grin on her face after a long night of walking and camping.

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&8220;When you hear how much we raised last night, it will blow you out of the water,&8221; Schumaker said.

The goal of the Freeborn County Relay for Life was to raise $9,557 for the American Cancer Society. The money goes toward cancer research and toward the needs of cancer patients.

So far, the Relay for Life raised $111,000. And more trickles in this coming week. Numbers won’t be final until this Friday.

The event began at 6 p.m. Friday. It raised money through selling luminarias, a live auction, a silent auction and if you donated money your name was entered in a drawing to win a trip to Las Vegas.

It was a long night for those who stayed over at the fairgrounds instead of going home to rest. They also had the undesireable job of cleaning up, but nary a word of discouragement was heard Saturday morning, as the stragglers felt a sense of unity from their shared accomplishment.

The Tribune staff participated in the Relay for Life. Some stayed all night. Some, like me, went home and came back in the early morning. Here, the writers of Team Trib share their thoughts.

Look for speeches from the Relay for Life to be printed in the Hometown Forum this coming week.

&045; Tim Engstrom, managing editor

The Relay For Life is an event all about incredible strength. Seeing so many people whose lives have been touched by cancer one way or anther is unbelievable.

The survivors show tremendous strength and determination to conquer their cancer. Those who continue the daily battle show amazing ability to cherish each day even in the face of something that can be so trying, and for those who have lost loved ones it is a chance to remember those who lost the fight but their memory will never be forgotten.

&045;&160;Jeff Budlong, sports editor

When I was 3, I had a friend named Allison, another little girl. She was a couple years older than me, but even so, sometimes she just couldn’t quite keep up with me when I ran up stairs or sprinted through hallways.

She was also bald. This is usually a distinguishing and fascinating characteristic to a young kid, though I don’t really remember thinking it was unusual at the time. She was just Allison, and she didn’t have any hair.

She had leukemia.

Though she fought hard, she didn’t survive. It was hard for me to understand at the time because I was so little, but her parents gave me one of her dolls to remember her by.

The doll was called Kimberly, and she had beautiful long blonde hair. Every time I brushed her hair, I remembered my friend who didn’t have any.

The luminaria I purchased for the Relay was undecorated, because good hair is hard to come by.

In memory of Allison.

&045;&160;Kari Lucin, staff writer

We’re all very much different, and working with different people each day &045; from covering heinous crimes to a local feel-good story about a soldier &045; emphasizes those differences. People battle all the time. That’s news.

So when a common theme brings to many people together in one place, and countless more in the community, it’s a touching thought. Everyone knows someone who has passed from complications of a type of disease, and for a night I enjoyed thinking how wonderful it is to bring businesses and citizens together for a fun and food-filled night to show we’re on the same side in the battle against cancer.

We’re all on the same side of this battle, no matter your story.

&045; Nathan Cooper, staff writer