Morning News-Lisa Mete
Team Adam's Family (from left) Caleb Hendricks, Brittany Stevenson, Cully Hendricks, Jessica Hendricks (and babies Elsie Stevenson, Dempsey Stevenson and Ramie Hendricks) of Blackfoot had some fun doing the hula dance at the Hawaiian-themed "Relay For Life" event in Blackfoot Friday evening. The family walked in honor of their uncle, Dave Adams, of Blackfoot, who died of cancer last year.
Warm hearts made up for the chilly evening temperature as hundreds of volunteers, team members (from up to 48 teams) and spectators converged on the Blackfoot High School football field Friday evening for the all night Relay For Life - American Cancer Society fundraiser.
The annual event brings the community together - not only to raise money to fight the disease - but to celebrate, honor and remember those who have been affected by cancer.
This year, organizers have set a goal to raise $150,000. Over $60,000 has already been raised by teams doing individual fundraising events the past few months.
Vendors were on hand selling food and goods, while many items were auctioned off throughout the evening.
Publicity director Mikki Turman said two of the most poignant traditions of the evening are the luminaria ceremony to honor those who lost their lives to cancer and the "survivors' walk" - where each cancer survivor present is called by name, walking through an arch made up of symbolic purple and white balloons, amidst tears and cheers, to walk a lap around the track.
"I think the highlight of the evening is the survivors' walk. I really look forward to it ever year," Turman said.
Darlene Grimm of Blackfoot was one of over 100 cancer survivors whose name was called out to walk. Grimm, a 10-year breast cancer survivor, said she looks forward to Relay For Life every year.
"It's one of the most wonderful events ever. I come for the fun and the moral support. I never want to miss it," she said.
Caroline Hansen of Shelley brought her young daughters Kaitlyn (10) and Jerika (4) to the event saying, "We're here to honor everyone who has battled cancer, but I also want my daughters to learn the importance of community involvement."
This is the eighth year that Blackfoot has held a Relay For Life event. The exact amount raised from the efforts will not be known until later in the summer as donations will still be gathered through August.