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Iowa City West sophomores raise over $5K for Relay for Life

BY AMY SKARNULIS | JUNE 18, 2012 6:30 AM

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Car washes, bake sales, and canning door to door contributed to the Pink Ladies unexpectedly raising the most money out of 33 registered teams at the 2012 Johnson County Relay for Life.

The Pink Ladies is a Relay for Life team made up of 19 girls going into their sophomore year at Iowa City West High School. In all of Pink Ladies' fundraising efforts, they raised more than $5,000 for the cause — the most money out of the 268 people registered for the event.

"I was very exhausted but it was worth it," said Frannie Rizzo, a member of the Pink Ladies, about participating the entire 12 hours of the event.

Rizzo said Relay for Life is a great way to get into the community and be able to help people to do something for cancer efforts.

"You can always help your family and friends who are affected," she said. "But I feel like Relay for Life is a time people can come all together."

The event took place at the University of Iowa Francis X Cretzmeyer Track from June 15 at 7 p.m. to June 16 at 7:00 a.m.

Jaime Moquin, the event chair for Johnson County Relay for Life, said before the event, she was most looking forward to the community coming together for a good cause.

"I look forward to the energy in the community and the togetherness," she said. "That, to me, is the best thing; the energy and the emotion, I look forward to that the most."

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life began in Taoma Washington in the mid-1980's, according to the official Relay for Life website. Gordy Klatt, a surgeon from Tacoma wanted to raise more money for research and show support by people who have battled cancer by doing something he enjoyed, running.

Moquin said this year is even more exciting than past relays because it is the 20th anniversary that Johnson County residents have come together to fight cancer.

John Riehl, external relations for the UI Graduate College, was involved with the event as the publicity chair and being a part of the planning committee. He said he was moved by the dedication of the participants at the event.

"It was pouring down rain," he said. "But then you would see a collection of people walk the track with umbrellas in a downpour," he said. "It just goes to show you how dedicated people are."

Madie Miller, a team member of the Pink Ladies, said the last time she did Relay for Life was when she was eight and was looking forward to participating again.

"I'm really excited to meet a lot of people and learn about their own stories," she said before the event.

According to the website, every hour of the event had a scheduled activity for the participants. These ranged from fun things like peanut butter and jelly sandwich making parties, to Yoga and Zumba classes, and even musical chairs.

There was also time to honor those who have lost the battle to cancer with the Luminaria — bags with candles inside them lined along the track. Each bag was dedicated in support, honor or memory of loved ones affected by cancer with a good will donation.

After the event Rizzo said, besides the rain, Relay for Life went off without a hitch.

"I really enjoyed the opening ceremony," she said. "They had survivors walk the first lap and it gave people who had been diagnosed hope. It was very inspirational."


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