Relay for Life dog show held at park

Friday, May 6, 2011

In nearly a month, it will be time for Marshall County's annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life event, and 10 teams are fundraising in earnest now.

Meanwhile, a Relay for Life Dog Show was held in Rock Creek Park last weekend. All Marshall County's dogs, however, seemed to be busy elsewhere, since the only ones who came to the show arrived with the organizers.

Without a crowd of dogs to organize, Leah Campbell, chairman of this year's Relay, had time Saturday afternoon to talk about the event that will take place from the evening of June 17 until the morning of June 18.

Last year the venue was changed to Rock Creek Park, but this year Relay will return to the Marshall County Expo Center on Robin Hood Road. There's plenty of space for parking there, and the teams can set up their booths around the track and cheer on their members as they walk by. Each team aims to have one or more members on the track at all times, walking all through the night.

"It works well with an oval track," Campbell said. "Relay is meant to recognize cancer survivors and remember the loved ones we have lost. We take that night to honor them.

"We'd appreciate it if the community would come out to the smaller events," Campbell said. Upcoming fundraisers include a sale of luminarias at the local Wal-Mart on May 28.

The luminaria ceremony is one of the most emotional moments of any Relay. Once darkness has fallen, all artificial lights are turned off, and the luminaria candles are lit. Each candle is inside a paper bag, weighted with sand and inscribed with the name of someone who has battled cancer. Some celebrate survivors, while others help us honor and remember those who have gone too soon.

Crystal Hurt, who brought the smallest dog, is the biggest individual fundraiser so far. She is also captain of the Wallywood team, which leads the team fundraising, at least for the moment.

It's not too late to form a team, organizers say, encouraging people to join a team, buy a luminaria, make a donation, or just plan to come attend Marshall County's 2011 Relay for Life and help make it better than before.

For more, call Campbell at 637-1925, or visit