It was an evening all about survivors, caregivers and those still fighting the fight at the El Dorado Relay For Life Friday evening.
The Relay got underway at 6 p.m. as teams set up their “camps” in the Butler Community College gym, preparing for a night of walking until 6 a.m.
Jeff Eastman, event chair, welcomed everyone to the event, then sang the National Anthem.
Next, El Dorado Correctional Facility Warden James Heimgartner made a presentation to the Relay on behalf of the inmates. He said it was their sixth year for their cancer walk at the facility.
He said many of the inmates also are touched by cancer and at any given time there are from three to 18 inmates getting treatments.
This year they raised $3,177 with their walk, which brings the total they have raised over the last six years to $18,612. He presented Eastman with a check, as well as two quilts the inmates had made to be auctioned off in a silent auction.
Pastor Andrew Conard then offered the invocation giving thanks for everyone gathered.
Eastman also introduced the honorary survivor this year, Julie Clements, who led the survivors lap, which was followed by a caregivers lap.
Then the teams lined up to each take their first lap before the walking got underway.
Among those attending was Curt Zieman, interim police chief. He was part of the Butler County Employees team.
He said his wife, Sandy's, dad had died of cancer when she was only 14 years old. In addition her mom is a breast cancer survivor. He also put out a luminaria in honor of former El Dorado Police Officer Joe Drake, who died from leukemia, and a Broncos player they hosted a few years ago who's mom had breast cancer.
“We just do it for friends and family,” he said. “It's a neat thing.”
Holly Trent also was walking in the Relay. She has taken part at least three years.
“My friend, she was diagnosed with breast cancer this year,” she said.
In addition, her father died from lymphoma two years ago and they lost her uncle this year. Also, her children's grandfather died of cancer and two of her cousins had cancer.
“I think the worst was my dad,” she said. “He had a rare lymphoma. I miss my dad.
“I wish we could find a cure.”
Trent is a nurse so she has seen some advancements in treatments over the years.
“We've come a long way but we have a long way to go,” she said.
Page 2 of 2 - City Commissioner Chase Locke also was participating in the Relay.
He lost his uncle last year to cancer and felt this was something he needed to do again. He had participated when he was younger.
“A handful of my teachers are cancer survivors and are here tonight,” he added. “Everyone has been affected one way or another. It is a special night to see people celebrating with survivors.”
During the evening there was entertainment by the Red, White & Blues and the El Dorado Municipal Band. At 10 p.m. was the luminaria ceremony, then team activities got underway at 11 p.m. A fight back ceremony was held at 2 a.m., followed by a talent show and more team activities. The closing ceremony started at 5:30 a.m.
Throughout the night the various teams had activities and fundraisers set up at their tents.
Two awards given out were for best costumes, which went to the Butler County employees, and best camp site, which went to the Kirby-Morris/Carlson Homeward Bounders.