Hey, are you ready for some Relay for Life?

Published 10:15 am Thursday, August 8, 2013

Column: Happy Medium, by Erin Murtaugh

This Friday, my favorite charity event of all times is going to be taking place.

The Freeborn County Relay for Life will be from 6 p.m., Friday to 6 a.m., Saturday. This event means a lot to me because everyone joins together to take on the fight against cancer.

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I am a member of the Tribune’s Relay for Life team and my dad, Mike, is a member of Purple Power, the team from Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services.

The Relay for Life is a great fundraiser and is a lot of fun to prepare for. Last week, I met with Dad and a few of his co-workers to tie-dye shirts for their team. The things like dying shirts, decorating a team’s campsite and decorating luminaries are what make teams grow closer together.

Opening ceremonies are at 6 p.m. and will be followed by the survivors and caregivers laps. This is a very high-emotion time. Listening to the different speakers and seeing everyone come together to begin the night really touches me.

There will be different places available to get food and many activities throughout the night, including games for children, bingo and a silent auction filled with a wide variety of items to bid on.

I encourage everyone to come out to this amazing event. Around 8:30 p.m. Friday, the luminary lighting ceremony will take place. Participants all join in to light the bags that line the fairgrounds. This is one of the most emotional parts of the Relay because it hits so hard as to just how many people are truly battling this ugly disease.

This is an excerpt from one of former Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column of March 18, 2010:

“The people who make up the Relay for Life team are some of the best people you will ever meet, and I will make sure that we are putting updates in the paper to alert you to what will be happening with the event.

“If you think donating your time and money are hard to do, try fighting cancer. I have seen it firsthand, and I am sure you have as well. It does not take much to get motivated when you talk to a survivor or listen to someone who has lost a loved one to this nasty disease.

“I promise you that the night of the Relay for Life will touch your heart and make you a better person just by being there. So what the heck are you waiting for? Get a team or an idea of how you will help and let’s get cracking!”

How true is this? The people who put on the Relay are extraordinary. The battling that people go through every day is something that sure motivates me to knock this disease out. No matter who you are, come out and experience this event. Whether you stay the whole time, or just show up for a few minutes, the time you spend there will be life changing.

Stop by and say “hi” between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. under the Grandstand, where I will take team photos. Let’s get geared up to celebrate, remember and fight back.


Albert Lea High School senior Erin Murtaugh’s column appears every Thursday.