Relay For Life benefits community and vice versaWhile it may seem a way off, plans are well underway for the Hudson Relay For Life June 22-23. The annual event has been going on in Hudson since 2000 as a result of a dedicated organizing committee of volunteers and teams of people from throughout the community who participate.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
While it may seem a way off, plans are well underway for the Hudson Relay For Life June 22-23.
The annual event has been going on in Hudson since 2000 as a result of a dedicated organizing committee of volunteers and teams of people from throughout the community who participate.
Kellie Burrows is the American Cancer Society representative to the Hudson Relay For Life. A cancer survivor herself, she also worked in the community as an advertising salesperson for the Star-Observer for several years. She brings all of that perspective to her job now.
Burrows says she enjoys her job in part because of its impact on the community.
“The Relay For Life impacts the community by bringing everyone together to celebrate, remember and fight back. The fact that nearly everyone has been affected by cancer in some way connects strangers and friends. We know we are all in this together. It is amazing seeing community members of all ages coming together for a common cause.”
Kim Poppe is the chairman of the event again this year. She said beyond the importance of the cause the relay supports, she values the experience of working with the many Relay For Life volunteers.
“I’ve met so many wonderful and dedicated volunteers. They all have made my job so much easier and much more fun. It has been a wonderful experience for me so far and I look forward to working with them as we move forward. I have also enjoyed meeting so many community residents, business leaders, and leaders in the Hudson area. The friends I have made will last a lifetime,” said Poppe.
As a breast cancer survivor, Burrows said her role in the relay is personal and professional.
“When I went to my first relay as a survivor I couldn’t believe all the community support. It made me feel so special that so many cared about me and my journey with the disease. I remember being moved to tears and I still am. It was so healing and inspirational. My positive prognosis is because of all these people raising money to save more lives.”
Burrows said a recent statistic showed that the American Cancer Society has been involved in every major breakthrough in the last 40 years, saving 350 more lives a day than in 1990. She also noted that 79 people every day in the state of Wisconsin are diagnosed with cancer. “This is why we can’t give up.”
Poppe says her Relay For Life experience has been life-changing. As chairman, she has attended the ACS Midwest Leadership Summit.
“I’ve met so many wonderful people from all over the Midwest Division. And it has affected our whole family. They are all involved in the process...my husband Mark, son Nathan, and daughter Kristina have all been involved in one way or another since I stepped into the chair role,” said Poppe.
The venue for the Relay For Life was changed to the athletic track at the Hudson Middle School last year. The move was a big one for the event but Poppe and Burrows both agree that the new setting is a good one. “It was a challenge but it was great to see it all come together. We’re looking forward to our second year there,” said Poppe.
She added, “There is something for everyone at the Relay For Life. While it is a fundraising event, it is so much more...food, fellowship, and fun. We celebrate survivors, remember those who have lost their battle, and fight back against this terrible disease. The ceremonies are both uplifting and touching.”
While attendance and participation has dropped off in recent years, Burrows is convinced that the relay is an important community event. Said Burrows, “Those people being diagnosed every day and those living with the disease continue to need our support. I would like to encourage those who once participated but haven’t in the last few years to come back, renew their commitment to this cause and show the community how much you care. We will be there to welcome you.”
For more information about this year’s Relay For Life, to register a team or to volunteer, contact Burrows at (612) 227-8135 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For online information about the Relay For Life, go to www.cancer.org.