O’Brien Relay For Life Raises More Than $36,000 To Fight Cancer

Sheldon, Iowa — A year filled with preparation and fundraising activities came together last (Tuesday) night when the O’Brien County Relay for Life 2016 was held at the Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center, located on the campus of Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon.

Lumineria surround the LLRC track at the 2016 O'Brien County Relay for Life
Lumineria surround the LLRC track at the 2016 O’Brien County Relay for Life

This was the first year that the O’Brien County event had been held on a Tuesday evening, having previously taken place on Friday nights.  However, this year, organizers decided to change things up a bit.

The event kicked off at 5:30 Tuesday afternoon with various games, raffles, and silent auction bidding.  The official Opening Ceremony took place at 7:00, and following the welcome, National Anthem, and Invocation by Rev. Dennis Heitbrink of Primghar, the Survivor’s Lap took place, followed by the Caregiver’s Lap, where the survivors of cancer are joined by the people who cared for them, on a lap around the LLRC track.

After more walking laps, games, music, and fellowship, O’Brien County Relay for Life Chair, Cindy Runger, announced to the crowd that the 2016 O’Brien County Relay for Life 2016 had raised $36,476, surpassing the 2015 total of $33,418, by nearly 10%.

The most somber, and emotional, portion of the evening came at the end, in what is called the Lumineria Ceremony.  Each lumineria represents an individual who is either battling with, or lost their battle with, cancer.  The lumineria bags, which encirlced the LLRC track, were illuminated from within, while the roll of names was read, followed by a period of silence, and the final Silent Lap in memory of those who have lost their battle with cancer.

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