Moniteau County Relay for Life hampered by rain

Cancer survivors who attended the 11th Annual Moniteau County Relay for Life Friday, June 17, at the Moniteau County Fairgrounds, California, proudly participate in the Survivor Lap during the opening ceremony.

Cancer survivors who attended the 11th Annual Moniteau County Relay for Life Friday, June 17, at the Moniteau County Fairgrounds, California, proudly participate in the Survivor Lap during the opening ceremony. Photo by April Arnett.

The American Cancer Society 11th Annual Relay for Life of Moniteau County was held June 17-18, at the Moniteau County Fairgrounds, California, despite rain that cut the event short for the third consecutive year.

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One of the most profound moments of the Relay for Life of Moniteau County is the Survivor Lap, in which cancer survivors in attendance walk a lap together to commemorate beating cancer.

"Relay was halted way too early once again," Event Chair and cancer survivor Rae Ann Shackleford said. "We had been watching the storm and decided to close everything down at 2:30 a.m. We did still manage to have our closing ceremony, although it was brief. Teams still have time to turn in money, so I see our total rising even higher. With only eight teams on site, we not only met our overall fundraising goal, we surpassed it by $2956.

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Cancer survivor Dena Blakely, supported by her husband Joe, served as the survivor speaker at the Relay for Life of Moniteau County Friday night. "Up until two months ago, I never thought I'd be standing here," Blakely said. She stressed the importance of digital mammorgrams. "They are the key to early detection and the reason mine was detected. This is why I stand here tonight as a survivor. My husband said if there was ever a silver lining in all of this, it is that we found the cancer at Stage 0. Thank you all and God bless."

Shackleford said she was very pleased with the support the Relay received from the community. "At the start of Relay, our total raised was roughly $48,000. I believe with the addition of the Kids Zone and the live entertainment, we were able to keep the Relayers and spectators more involved for a longer period of time this year."

Thus far, this year's event, with the theme "Celebrating More Birthdays," raised a total of $70,956, which will go toward the fight against cancer.

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Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 11th Annual Relay for Life of Moniteau County Friday, June 17, at the fairgrounds, from left, are Event Chair Rae Ann Shackleford, American Cancer Society Staff Partner Kami Delameter and Master of Ceremonies Jeff Shackleford.

Relay for Life is a celebration of cancer survivorship and a way to raise funds needed to help find a cure for cancer. Participating teams raise funds throughout the year leading up to the Relay for Life, where each team hosts fundraising activities at their site, along with food and items for sale, with all proceeds going toward their team goal and the Relay For Life of Moniteau County overall goal.

Nine teams participated in the 11th Annual Relay for Life of Moniteau County Friday-Saturday: Christina's Breast Friends, which led fundraising with $15,236; Elvis & the Jailhouse Rockers, $14,065; California Girls, $7,944; Turkey Trotters, $7,505; Clean-Up Crew, $6,113; Burgers' Country Curers, $4,014; Joshua's Angels, $3,974; Sassy Sarcomas, $2,468; and Barb's Journey, $330.

"I'd like to thank the planning committee and our teams for their hard work and commitment to this great event," Shackleford said. "I hope through working together we continue to grow each year. We already have teams interested in participating in the Relay next year and also a few individuals who want to be part of the planning committee, so I'm really excited to see what next year brings."

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