Auction items, theme laps, music,
and the reading of luminaria names make up the last half of the 2017
Relay for Life
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[June 19, 2017]
- Cancer is a bitter, painful thing for many. Thinking about loved
ones who are suffering, or those who have left this world, can bring
on deep feelings. Yet, at the Relay for Life event each year there
is a sense of pride and happiness as participants watch the dollars
roll in for the American Cancer Society.
While there are emotional and difficult moments at the Relay,
portions of the day are designed to be a lot of fun and the event as
a whole a celebration of life.
On Saturday night when Mike Maske took the microphone to conduct the
live auction, the fun was at an all-time high for the night. Maske,
not being confined to the back of a truck or an auctioneer’s stand,
enjoyed walking around in front of the crowd, and even going right
up to people with a friendly and lighthearted “get in your face”
sales technique urging them to bid, and bid again.
When buyers were determined, he would urge the audience to applaud
the buyer for their contribution to the Relay for Life.
This year the auction included items donated by Relay team members,
local businesses and organizations, and many others, including
students from Northwest School.
The students had painted canvases with a Relay for Life theme during
their annual Relay Recess event this spring. Bidders were urged to
show their support to the students through big bids.
One of the most prized items bringing a high bid was the survivor
tee-shirt autographed by all the survivors in attendance. The shirt
Gift certificates donated by Collision Concepts and Stahl’s
Furniture in Mount Pulaski also brought in big bids, as did planted
hanging baskets and potted plants donated by Connie’s Greenhouse.
Furniture donated by Jakes Furniture in Lincoln sold at good prices,
but still, buyers got bargains as bidding ended below retail value
The quilting and knitting clubs of Atlanta donated several items
including lap blankets and a lap-size afghan. Maske urged on the
bidders, noting that even if an item was something the bidder
couldn’t use personally, it could be donated to local nursing homes
for use by the residents. He said such donations are greatly
appreciated by all the local care facilities.
Another nice item offered for bid at the last minute was a balloon
hat made by Rachel Skelton. Skelton was on hand as a member of one
of the relay teams. She spent a good part of the evening making
balloon art for the youngsters and young at heart. Hats, swords, and
pretty little flower wristlets could be seen all around the
gymnasium. The hat was made using all the “colors of cancer.” In the
end, Maske purchased the hat for $90.
As in the past, the live auction was facilitated by
the Cooley family
In addition to the live auction, a silent auction was being held at
the back of the room. At 8:30 p.m. bidding closed and buyers were
happy to gather up their “prizes” and pay their bills to the
Throughout the evening, special laps were held including the 'Proud
to be an American' lap and the 'Beach Bum' lap.
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At a little after 8 p.m., Josiah Keller took the stage providing some excellent
guitar music for attendees. Josiah is a student at Lincoln College majoring in
Jazz Studies. He has just completed his first degree, an Associates, and
according to his dad Ron Keller, is considering whether he will continue on for
his Baccalaureate or perhaps do something else for a while.
Just before 9 p.m. volunteers began working around the track
breaking the glow sticks in the luminaria bags and preparing for the final hour
of the evening.
Keller was asked to take a short break while names were drawn for the 50-50
winner as well as the raffle winner. He resumed playing afterward and continued
on until 9 p.m. when it was time for the reading of the luminaria names.
While Relay for Life can be considered a fundraising event, there are also
spiritual aspects of the event. It is about coming together as a group who has
suffered, fought, and prevailed against a horrifying disease. It’s about
remembering those who in their final hours accepted defeat and moved on to a
heavenly home and a place of peace.
It’s about those who are left behind and how they remember and celebrate their
loved ones through sharing stories, sharing hugs, sharing tears, and yes,
raising money. They work for a cause that is near and dear to their hearts
because they don’t want others to experience what they have experienced. They
want a cure, they want real hope. They want survivors.
On Saturday evening as the last hour of the relay approached, Bill Post and
Donna Miles took the stage.
The lights went down, and the Hush Angels appeared, asking everyone to spend the
next hour in silence as Post reverently read the names of all those listed on
the luminaria bags that circled the track.
Though the crowd had thinned out, there were those faithful walkers who gathered
on the track and for a full hour, they quietly made their laps, wearing or
carrying an item that reminded them of the person they were there honoring or
remembering as Post read aloud those wonderful names.
When the reading was completed, Post closed the evening with prayer and then
there was the traditional playing of the bagpipes, signifying the conclusion of
another successful Relay for Life in Logan County.