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Relay For Life on Friday

If you go

What: 23rd Stutsman County Relay for Life

When: 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, April 26

Where: Larson Center, University of Jamestown, 900 7th St. NE

Details: opening/closing ceremony, survivor and caregiver walk, luminaria ceremony

Contact: Doreen Brophy, 320-7182, doreenb9@daktel.com

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The annual Stutsman County Relay for Life on Friday is two months earlier than in past years, partly due to weather but also to avoid summer scheduling conflicts, said Doreen Brophy, event lead.

After successive years of weather events including rain, strong winds, lightning and even a tornado watch, the success of moving the 2018 event indoors at the Larson Center prompted the organizing committee to keep it indoors, she said.

"The University of Jamestown is very nice in letting us use the Larson Center," Brophy said. "We planned for this April last year to be sure we can get it."

There is more availability of the center in April than in June when summer basketball tournaments start, she said. Not scheduling the Relay in June helps more people avoid conflicts with weddings and summer events, she said. The indoor event had more participants in the survivors and caregivers walk than occurred with the outdoor track around the football field, she said.

"The football is field too big and some people were using golf carts," she said.

This year's Relay for Life will have 12 teams and a $57,000 fundraising goal, she said. The amount is what the 14 teams in 2018 raised when the goal was set at $55,000, she said.

The funds raised Friday might not reach $57,000, Brophy said. The teams will continue organizing their own events at churches and in the community through August, and those funds will add to the Relay for Life total, she said.

When Relay for Life started there was a lot of participation but that has dropped some over the years, Brophy said. Some of that is due to people participating in a growing number of cancer prevention events that are just as important in the fight against cancer, she said.

The Relay for Life survivor speaker will be Mackenzie Gerszewski, who fought cancer as a Jamestown High School student when she was diagnosed with the rare adenoid cystic carcinoma in 2011.

The Knights of Columbus Color Guard will perform a flag ceremony. Jamestown Choralaires members will sing the national anthem.

The Relay for Life dress contest returns where teams wear costumes while collecting donations from the crowd. The event will have food vendors, carnival games, a silent auction and the luminaria ceremony with a recording of Gavin Kutz reading the 1,300 names on the luminaria bag lanterns.

"It's just really touching," Brophy said.

The Relay for Life is celebration, remembrance and is something that everyone can connect with from having their own lives touched by cancer in some way, she said.

"We encourage everyone to attend," Brophy said.