Spreading Hope: Relay for Life Returns to Muscatine August 24th
by Margaret Hurlbert
August 19, 2019

Nothing, not even this year’s record flooding, could keep Relay for Life of Muscatine (RLM) from hosting their annual Relay for Life event down at the riverfront. Through their dedication to helping the American Cancer Society, RLM will once again use Relay for Life as a way to raise awareness about cancer in Muscatine County, and to raise money to help local residents with cancer fight their disease. With a rescheduled date for the event, RLM looks forward to keeping Relay for Life going strong in Muscatine County on Saturday, August 24th.

For twenty-eight years, RLM has hosted Relay for Life in Muscatine County. Local residents inspired by Dr. Gordon Klatt (who created Relay for Life in 1985 when he raised awareness about cancer by walking a track in Tacoma, Washington, for twenty-four hours straight) decided that they wanted to do something to help the American Cancer Society and help cancer patients in the area deal with their own diagnoses.

From these humble beginnings, RLM has grown significantly, and their annual event helps numerous people throughout the county. Last year, according to RLM member Ed Chamberlain, the group used the money they raised from Relay for Life to give 139 free rides to appointments, provide 143 free nights of lodging to patients and their families who needed to stay near a treatment center, assist twenty-four cancer patients from Muscatine county, and to support research at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. “Money raised here will stay local,” emphasized Chamberlain.

This year RLM hopes to raise at least $45,000 through Relay for Life. So far, eleven teams have registered to fundraise and participate, and Chamberlain anticipates another good year of donations.

Along with fundraising, RLM uses Relay for Life to raise awareness about cancer and to bring the community together to support people with cancer and survivors. An event for all ages, Chamberlain encourages families to form teams to participate in the day’s activities. These include old favorites, such as bounce houses, live music from Joey Peate and First Impression, a survivor dinner, and Zumba by Pat Church, as well as new additions such as a beer garden and pickle ball social.

RLM’s relay for life will also honor its 2019 Hero of Hope, Ashley Loveless. Each year, RLM selects one local cancer survivor to lift up and use as a positive example to others. Chamberlain said RLM chose Loveless, a one year survivor of breast cancer, because, “she openly shared her battle, had a great deal of family and friends supporting her (Ashley’s Army), and she is well known within the community.”

Almost everyone in the Muscatine community has had their life impacted by cancer in some way, big or small. To support loved ones who have cancer, survived cancer, or lost their battle to it, Chamberlain encourages everyone to get involved with Relay for Life. To register, interested participants can visit http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=92532 and begin fundraising for this important cause.

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