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Relay for Life Kick-off meeting is March 25

“When we walk together we are bigger than cancer.”

This is the theme of the 2013 East Otter Tail Relay For Life.

Relay organizers believe this theme expresses the purpose of this mid-summer event – getting people together one night each year to celebrate victories over cancer, honor survivors, remember those who have lost their lives to the disease, and commit themselves to fighting it all year long.

The relay is always held the second Friday in July – this year, it will be July 12.

The first local event began 17 years ago, with nine teams raising $12,000. The event has grown over the years, and there are now more than 20 teams that raise nearly $90,000.

In 2012, the local relay won the Midwest Division award for per capita fundraising for counties of its size. For the East Otter Tail half of the county, the relay raised almost $5 for each person in the county.

Team recruitment chair Emily Poulson said, “We do so well – and we can do even better! Each additional team adds to the effect of the evening. With more people, it has greater impact, it’s more meaningful, it’s more fun. Every one of us has a ‘reason to relay.’”

Poulson adds: “Cancer has cost us family and friends, and it is a threat to others we know and love. We must fight back. The relay gets better with each additional team. We’d like to get 30 teams and raise over $100,000 cancer fighting dollars.”

Teams range in size from eight to more than 15. Each team member raises $100, usually through the sale of luminaries that line the track the night of the relay. Most teams also have a special fundraiser to enhance their gifts.

Teams represent many different groups: schools and teams, churches, businesses, service clubs and organizations, families and friends – any group that wants to make a difference in eliminating cancer.

“The 2013 team ‘kick-off meeting for team captains is on Monday, March 25 at 7 p.m. at Perham High School,” said Poulson. “We’re ready to relay!”

This is a special relay, as it marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the American Cancer Society, now the largest health-related volunteer based organization in the world.

There has been great progress in the fight against cancer over this century. In 1913, the survival rate after a diagnosis of cancer was just 12 percent. Today, the five-year survival rate is more than 70 percent, and that rate is closer to 90 percent with childhood cancers.

Relay Chairperson Lisa Peterson emphasizes, “As team members we feel we are making a big effort, but we can be bigger with your help.

For more information about organizing a team, call or e-mail Emily Poulson at 952-210-8531 or; or Lisa Peterson at 346-4747 or