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Joe Bowen, Perham FOCUS Perham is spattered with purple flags, bows, ribbons and signs, and some businesses are selling and displaying purple merchandise and special purple decorations in recognition of this year's EOT Relay for Life. Everyone in the community is encouraged to wear purple on the day of the Relay, July 12.

Relay For Life organizers extend open invitation: EOT Relay For Life is this Friday.

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After many meetings and countless volunteer hours, the signature event of the American Cancer Society is ready to go. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m.

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Each of the 24 teams will have a campsite activity – food, fun games, information or other things to do and share.

The Perham Lions will be serving food from their concession trailer, classic car rides will be available, and people can get massages or haircuts. There will be a cancer education game, and a large silent auction is assembled for all interested. Later that night, thousands of luminaries will be lit. 

All this and more will be happening at the Perham High School track.

The organizing committee invites everyone to come and enjoy. There is no charge.

The evening is organized around a three-part theme: Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back.

“Celebrate” includes all of the above activities, but the heart of this part of the night is the Survivors’ Lap, which will take place at 7 p.m. After a short ceremony, all survivors will be introduced and begin walking the track as the audience acknowledges their victory over cancer. For those survivors unable to walk, there will be golf carts and drivers available for assistance. Prior to the ceremony, survivors can register at the Survivors’ Tent.

We hope that this year, for the first time, we will have at least 100 survivors, to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Cancer Society.

All teams, with their banners, will be introduced and follow the survivors around the track. The ceremony will end with the inspiring release of doves, each representing a survivor or a loved one who lost the cancer battle.

The “Remember” part of the night will begin at 9 p.m. with a luminary lighting ceremony.

At this point, the mood will no longer be so festive – it will become more somber and reflective. It is at this time that the two honorary co-chairs, Kathy Wouters and Linda Hendrickson, will speak to the assembled crowd. They then will lead the crowd around the track, lighting thousands of luminaries as they pass by.

The St. Paul’s Lutheran bell choir will provide just the right mood by the sound of the bells, honoring the survivors and remembering the loved ones lost. The luminaries provide the only light for the walkers through the night, until the end of the Relay at 6 a.m. on Saturday.

The “Fight Back” part of the Relay will take place at midnight, with a short Fight Back ceremony and presentation in front of the grandstand. This ceremony celebrates all our efforts to do what we can to prevent cancer, alleviate suffering, and support those fighting cancer.

Most of all, we work for that day when, like smallpox, there is no more cancer!

We again invite everyone in East Otter Tail County to join us. The only thing that can make a great Relay For Life even better is to have you join us on July 12.

By Ron Anderson, EOT Relay For Life

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