Rifle sets good pace for the Relay for Life | PostIndependent.com

Rifle sets good pace for the Relay for Life

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado ” Cancer bonds people like nothing else in life. For Rifle Area Relay for Life chairwoman, Theresa Hamilton, the relay is a tribute to all of those who have dealt with the devastating disease in one way or another.

And it’s something she is very passionate about.

“To see 200 to 300 people come together for a cause and to stay up all night is a lot of fun,” Hamilton said.

This is Hamilton’s third year as chair of the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, and she still gets the chills when speaking about the event.

“I love it when the survivors walk the first lap. It’s so powerful and these are people that have battled the disease and have kicked it. To honor them is a great feeling.”

But her favorite aspect of the event would have to be the Luminaria ceremony, where luminaries are lit at the moment night descends upon the event to honor those who have won, and those who have lost the battle.

“We walk for an hour to honor those people. It’s symbolic of their strength and their spirit in being a survivor,” Hamilton said. “I get goosebumps just thinking about it.”

Friday night at 7 p.m. 21 teams, the most ever at a Rifle area event, will set up camp at the Rifle High School Track and will walk continually until 10 a.m. the following morning. The event is to raise money for cancer research for the ACS.

Last year, the Rifle Relay raised a record-setting $103,000. Collectively, the Rifle Relay and the Roaring Fork Relay for Life made Garfield County a top-10 ranking nationally in fundraising, bringing in $218,000. That amount also gained Garfield County the top spot in fundraising per capita than any other county in the Great West Division, which includes; Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana and North Dakota.

“That is a testament to the teams, the committee and the community that is involved,” Hamilton said. “The teams can’t do it without the community supporting them. It’s a great community event and it’s not just one person making this happen, it’s the community”

It’s that type of community that Hamilton expects to see another great turnout for this year’s event.

“I think there is a lot of enthusiasm this year,” she said. “Teams have been so creative with fundraising that our goal should be easily attainable.”

Breaking the $100,000 mark last year, Hamilton said the relay’s goal this year is set at $92,000, but she is positive that will be no problem achieving.

“That is our goal, but I’m cautiously optimistic that we will do that,” she said. “And maybe even a little more.”

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