Relay for Life brings community together for a good cause |

Relay for Life brings community together for a good cause

Post Independent/April E. Clark

CARBONDALE ” Randy Henrie and Jill Skramstead don’t know each other.

But Friday night, the two Relay for Life volunteers were placing candles in luminaria bags, in honor and in memory of those who have battled cancer, alongside each other on the Roaring Fork High School track.

“It’s just a sense of the right thing to do,” said Henrie, whose wife, Kimberly Henrie, is a member of the Relay for Life committee and former coordinator of the event.

In the last three years, the Henries have seen the Relay for Life walk-run fundraising event in the Roaring Fork Valley grow four times in size, from three teams to 12. That’s heartening for Randy Henrie, whose father died from cancer at 53.

“This has been growing steadily for three years,” Randy Henrie said. “The more people we can get involved every year, it will just get stronger.”

Randy Henrie volunteered to help fill and light luminaria bags, haul tables and chairs for the survivor dinner ” and just support the cause overall. The lighting of the luminaria bags, which includes a set up of bags to spell out “Hope” and then “Cure” on the RFHS bleachers, is a touching moment during the event.

“I grieved really well when my dad passed away, but watching others grieving, I like to think I’m helping people by being a part of that,” Randy Henrie said.

Jill Skramstead, a member of the Cowbelles and Cowboys Relay for Life team, returned as a volunteer with her family in honor of her mother-in-law, Julie Skramstead, a breast cancer survivor.

“I like it because it benefits the American Cancer Society. And it’s an easy thing to do ” walking is easy,” Jill Skramstead said. “We’re taking shifts, and walking from 2-5 a.m. We’re wondering, is Starbucks is open at 2 a.m.?”

Jill Skramstead said her mother-in-law ” a survivor of six years ” is an inspiration to her family.

“Her strength, determination, and just her will to fight has been amazing,” she said.

The 16-member Cowbelles and Cowboys relay team raised $900 of the more than $30,000 collected overall for the event through a yard sale and by selling purple cancer awareness bracelets and luminaria bags.

The fundraising didn’t stop by the start of the overnight relay at 6 p.m. Friday evening, kicked off by a survivor walk featuring participants donning purple Relay for Life shirts. Teams such as Soul Glow sold glow-in-the-dark necklaces and hosted a hole-in-one game, all in the spirit of paying tribute to cancer survivorship and to raise funds for research and American Cancer Society community programs.

“Every team who participated last year came back,” said Vicki Varia, American Cancer Society staff partner. “It’s like a grassroots effort. Since we’ve spread it out to include the entire Roaring Fork Valley, there’s more interest. We had more than 50 survivors walk this year.”

Randy Henrie’s not surprised.

“There’s probably not a single person who hasn’t had cancer affect their lives,” Randy Henrie said.

Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518

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