Relay For Life Teaming With Community To Fight Cancer

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Rim Country Relay for Life organizers are soliciting teams for their June 2 - 3 relay fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society.


During the Rim country's first Relay for Life event last year, organizers raised $12,000 with 10 teams. This year they hope to attract 30 teams and raise $30,000 for the fight against cancer.


"It's a big goal, but we have to reach for it," said Ann Riehle, who is co-chairing the event with Anita Farmer. "This is not a Payson Relay for Life. This is a Rim country event. It's about being a community that takes up a fight."


The relay is the American Cancer Society's signature event. More than 2,700 towns and cities across the nation participate each year, raising more than $100 million for cancer research, treatment and programs.


Riehle said her team, the Payson Breast Cancer group, made $6,000 last year by holding a yard sale and selling baked goods.


So far, six teams have signed up for the event. They are the Arizona Rodeo Sweethearts (past rodeo queens from all around the state), the Payson Breast Cancer Group, Payson Therapeutic Massage Center, Dr. Victor Henderson (a radiation oncologist at Payson Regional Medical Center), Shepherd of the Pines Lutheran Church, and Safeway.


Participants don't have to belong to a group or organization, Riehle said. Friends, neighbors, businesses and civic groups can all form teams.


Riehle is looking for teams of eight to 15 people who will pay $10 for each team member.


Participants receive a Relay for Life T-shirt and will have the opportunity to be involved in one of the most inspiring community events around, Riehle said.


The first big team meeting will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 25 at Shepherd of the Pines Lutheran Church at 507 W. Wade Lane.


The relay takes place over a 24-hour period and participants spend 30 minutes at a time on the track. "This is not a competition," Riehle said. "They can sit there, run, walk or skip. Last year we had two men who went around the track playing golf."


Riehle said she hopes to get some teams from communities outside Payson this year -- Pine, Gisela, Rye, Kohl's Ranch.


"The more, the merrier," she said. "This is not just cancer people who are in this. These teams will be working very hard to raise that money."


For information, call Riehle at 472-7448 or Anita Farmer at 474-8168.

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