Relay revisited

MARSHALL – There was a good-sized crowd lined up for Sounds of Summer festivities on Thursday evening, but it wasn’t just the food and music people were there for. There was also a good cause to support.

A pair of events with a shared cause were the focus of activity at the Schwan parking lot downtown. The Lyon County Relay for Life had a “mini-relay” event, with a ceremony and silent auction that had been postponed because of weather. At the same time, Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center hosted a supper to raise funds for its cancer center building campaign.

“It was really nice of Sounds of Summer to let us do this,” said Kathy Truwe, a 2013 Relay for Life co-chairwoman. She said Avera Marshall also deserved thanks for letting the Relay pair with its event. The two events encompassed the fight against cancer, Truwe said – the American Cancer Society helps fund research into cancer treatments, which in turn helps patients at treatment centers like Avera’s.

“They’re the ones who benefit from that research,” she said.

The line for hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches stretched across the parking lot and all the way into the street, a segment of College Drive having been blocked off for the festival. Volunteers in the serving line were prepared with enough food for more than 300 people, said Deann Holland, director of community relations at Avera Marshall. She and other volunteers were also helping to sell “Building Hope” shirts and accepting donations for the building campaign.

Avera Marshall is continuing to work toward its fundraising goals to build a cancer center at the hospital.

“It’s getting closer and closer,” Holland said. If the $5.45 million goal is reached, Avera Marshall plans to break ground for the center this fall.

People attending the festivities said it was great to get a chance to reschedule this year’s Relay, after severe storms shut down the Feat at the Fairgrounds event in June. The silent auction tent was crowded, with many people wearing their 2013 Lyon County Relay t-shirts. Cindy Peterson, and members of the Relay team formed in honor of her daughter Haily, were wearing their team shirts now that they had the chance.

“It’s great to see the turnout,” Peterson said of Thursday’s events.

In a ceremony recognizing area cancer survivors, Relay supporters emphasized the need for the community to keep coming together to support the cause. An average of 124 people are diagnosed with cancer in Lyon County every year, Lyon County Relay co-chairwoman Jeri Morris told the crowd. “We want that number to be zero, so we’ll keep on fighting.”