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Taking a full stride
Participants in the “Mr. Relay” competition take a minute to show off their fashionable outfits and sexy legs. From left: Ken Graham, Jeff Sholz, Marty Hankel, Jacob Frame and Scott Roberts. Carol Petrie/Free Press Correspondent

ELKO — After countless hours of planning, preparations and team fundraisers held throughout the community, the American Cancer Society Elko Relay For Life Event was officially kicked off with a parade Saturday afternoon.

A wide variety of floats, vehicles and enthusiastic participants rocked out to music and tossed candy to the crowds lining the parade route as they made their way down Idaho Street. They converged at the Elko High School track, ready to get down to the serious business of trying to meet their goal of raising $45,000.

During the event’s welcoming ceremonies, local POW/MIA members posted the colors and Delmo Andreozzi and Karen Taufer performed the national anthem for the crowd.

“It’s a great day to relay,” shouted team development chairman Andreozzi. Strains of the Rodney Atkin song “If You’re Going Through Hell” filled the air as a

sea of cancer survivors adorned in purple

T-shirts took to the track for their honorary lap.

As team members spent more than 17 hours taking turns walking laps around the field, a variety of entertainment, tournaments, food and game booths, the much-anticipated “Mr. Relay” competition, as well as the messages to heaven and the moving luminary ceremony provided both participants and attendees a wealth of diversions from the occasional rain shower, cool temperatures and sore feet.

 During a short break, five-year event participant and cancer survivor Bill Bogue said the annual event provides him with a large dose of hope and a renewed sense of determination.

In March 2002, Bogue was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 prostate cancer. While he is not cancer free, he says he plans to be around for quite awhile.

“The first year I participated in this event it was really hard, all I did was cry. But when you see so many survivors out here on the field it really gives you a sense of hope,” said Bogue.

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 “With the strides being made in medicine every day, I plan on being here to watch my 6-year-old granddaughter Brooklyn, graduate high school and go on to college.”

Andreozzi said he was impressed with the overwhelming turnout and support by the community.

“People are here having fun, remembering their loved ones, celebrating with survivors and are standing united throughout our community ready to fight this deadly disease,” he said. “As of this morning we’ve raised more than $63,000 and I’d like to personally thank the entire Relay Committee, the 39 teams, the community, and all of our corporate sponsors for making this such a success and look forward to seeing everyone again for next year’s event.”

For information on the event, or to make a donation prior to the Aug. 5 deadline, contact Andreozzi at 738-5512, or event chairwoman Annie McWilliams at 934-0008.

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