Aurora — Many people came together for Relay For Life at Veterans Stadium from June 1 at 9 a.m. to June 2 at 9 a.m. as team members took turns walking on the track for 24 straight hours.
The amount raised to help find a cure for cancer was announced as nearly $48,000 a few days after the event, according to Charles Richardson, who was a co-chairman along with Kevin Nietert and Jodie Hayden.
The top three teams in terms of fundraising were Team Nietert with $16,898, Church in Aurora with $9,011 and Team S.H.I.N.E. with $7,089, according to Richardson, while the top three individuals were Richardson of Team Nietert with $12,775, Amanda Joy Hall of Team Nietert with $1,122 and Kevin Nietert of Team Nietert with $1,050.
Registered participants numbered 178, according to Richardson, who said community turnout “was very light this year.” He estimated there were probably 300-plus people coming and going throughout the day.
Northern Portage Relay For Life honorary survivor Melissa Garlough of Hudson could not attend. She was battling cancer for the third time.
Carol Ranta of Ravenna headed a team called Carol’s Crew. “I know so many people who have gotten cancer,” said Ranta, who has captained 14 Relay teams. “Everyone knows someone affected by cancer. Everyone has the same purpose — to help find a cure.”
Aurora’s Greg Best, a youth group leader for high school-age members at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Aurora, said his group got involved in Relay For Life after Nietert spoke to four young people from the church. The team grew to 25 members and came to be known as Soldiers for Our Lady.
The original four are Jackie Sloe, Payton Picone, Laura Giesler and Colleen Houlahan.
Aurora’s Debbie McDowell was at Relay for her ninth year. She said she originally took part in Relay to support Aurora’s Kris Banbury, who had breast cancer, then McDowell got thyroid cancer two years ago. She said her cancer is in remission.