Riding in wheelchairs, the two grand marshals of the Brookings-Harbor Relay for Life led cancer survivors on the first lap around the track at Elmer Bankus Field.
Their ceremonial lap was the start of an all-night event held under the direction of Leann McCurley to raise funds for the fight against cancer.
McCurley said there were about 230 participants in this years relay, down from 300 last year. The drop was mainly because of Crescent City deciding to have its own relay this year. Last week Crescent City raised about $100,000. The amount raised at this years relay in Brookings will not be known until the end of the event at around 11 a.m. today.
With great fanfare the total is announced by McCurley.
The evening belonged to the cancer survivors, who ranged in age from 5 into their 70s. The grand marshals, Harold Morin and Pat Silveria, addressed the crowd at the beginning of the ceremonies. They described their fights against the disease. Morin said he made a grave mistake by initially listening to his family doctor and surgeon. They in essence told him it was too late, and that he should put his affairs in order.
He said he should have insisted on being referred to a specialist in his type of cancer. Later he was, but his condition had worsened.
If there was a message from the two grand marshals, it seemed that those afflicted with cancer should take a personal interest in their health, and not be too quick to rely on the advice given by physicians.
Both talked about alternative types of treatments. Morin, a former teacher, said it may have stopped the spread of cancer, but did not eliminate the tumors in his liver. Silveria said she had been helped. Among the people she thanked for assisting her was her herbalist, Jon Loren of Harbor.
One of the highlights of the evening was when Heather Cavaness joined with Sandy Harper in singing the National Anthem. It has been a month since she underwent brain surgery to correct a rare condition.
Harper was with her during her surgery in Portland.
The football field looked a little like a tent city for the event. Each team had its unique home, which was to be judged later in the evening.
Special events were scheduled throughout the night. One of the highlights was when 1,000 candles were lighted. They were positioned along the track in paper bags. The luminaries were lighted in the memory of cancer victims. Most of the bags had names of people who were lost, or afflicted by the disease. The candles were sold for $5 each, with the proceeds going to fight against cancer.
McCurley said she sold 200 of the candles during the early evening. Any not sold were dedicated to the people who have the disease but do not know it, she said.