Relay for Life is an extraordinary fundraiser

Published 9:53 am Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Happy Medium by Erin Murtaugh

This Friday, my favorite charity event of all time 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 in the fight against cancer.

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The Relay for Life is a great fundraiser and is a lot of fun to prepare for. The things like dying shirts, decorating a team’s campsite and decorating luminarias are what make teams grow closer together.

Opening ceremonies are at 6 p.m. and are followed by laps for survivors and caregivers. 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 luminaria lighting ceremony will take place. Participants all join in to light the bags that line the track at the fairgrounds. This is one of the most emotional parts of the Relay for Life 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 Tribune 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 for Life 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. You don’t have to be a part of a team or even register to come out. Whether you stay the whole time, or just show up for a few minutes, the time you spend there will be life changing.

Today marks a day which is the reason I care so much about the Relay for Life. Four years ago today, my mom lost her battle to cancer. Who do you relay for?


Albert Lea resident Erin Murtaugh is a 2014 graduate of Albert Lea High School. She is an intern this summer for the Albert Lea Tribune. She can be reached at