Friday’s Relay For Life to bring renewed hope to cancer survivors
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
This Friday, Aug. 17, the fight against cancer will forge on. The Carlton County Relay For Life will be held at the Fond du Lac Tribal Center west of Cloquet on Big Lake Road. Events start at 4:30 .pm. with the cancer survivor registration and team registration.
The Cancer Survivor Dinner will be at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Survivor Lap at 7:30 p.m. The Silent Auction will open at 5 p.m. Opening ceremonies start at 6:30 p.m. with Paul Carpenter as the master of ceremonies. Reneé Birman will sing the National Anthem, and Pinewood Landing will provide other music during the evening.
The Beledi Belly Dancers are scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. Luminaries will be lit at 8:30 p.m. Food and silent auctions will be available all night.
“A generous thank you is extended to the Fond du Lac community for their hospitality in allowing us to hold our event at their community center,” said Jean Cyronek, community relations specialist for the American Cancer Society.
This year’s honorary survivor is Arlyn Sievert of Carlton. Sievert was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer that starts in the plasma cells in bone marrow, on Aug. 1, 2001. At that time, doctors told him he likely had no more than three years to live. A subsequent stem cell transplant resulted in a serious infection that caused him to lose his eyesight. In a last-ditch effort to turns things around, the University of Minnesota agreed to perform another stem cell transplant, and this time, according to his wife, Gladys, “he flew through with flying colors.”
Sievert’s cancer went into remission until 2008, and he underwent a third stem cell transplant in 2009. At that time, physicians projected that the transplant would give him a three- to five-year lease on life.
“He’s now three years out,” said Gladys, “and he’s doing well.”
The Sieverts have three grown children and eight grandchildren, several of whom will be on hand for Friday’s Relay event to support Arlyn as he makes the honorary survivors’ walk at the start of the event.
The goal for this year’s Carlton County event is $33,000, though only two teams have signed up to take part. During the 17 years the local Relay for Life has taken place, participants and sponsors have raised some $500,000.
The community is invited to this Friday’s event to show support for the teams, enjoy the entertainment and walk the course to view the luminaries.
Funds raised through the local Relay For Life event in the past have helped Carlton County cancer survivors access programs such as the Hope Lodge, providing free lodging for cancer patients; free wigs through the “Look Good Feel Better” program; transportation assistance through “Road to Recovery”; and patient to survivor visits through “Reach to Recovery.”
“Join us Friday, Aug. 17,” invited Cyronek. “The American Cancer Society represents the hope that those lost to cancer will not be forgotten, that those with cancer will be supported and one day cancer will be eliminated.”
For more information, contact www.cancer.org or 1-800-277-1234.