Danna Nofsinger’s mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1998. She fought the disease for more than 10 years before passing away in 2009.
“The main reason I participate in Relay for Life is to honor my mom’s cancer struggle,” Nofsinger said. “I’ve never seen anyone fight harder than my mom did or with more dignity.”
Nofsinger is one of 80 participants registered to take part in the annual Relay for Life event this year in Cortez. Starting Friday, those volunteers plan to place purple ribbons on light poles along Main Street. The aim: to paint Cortez purple to help promote cancer awareness.
“We all participate in Relay for Life because we’ve been affected by cancer in some way,” she said. “Relay For Life gives us the power to make a difference and fight back.”
Ten local teams have already raised nearly $18,000 for this year’s Relay for Life event in Cortez.
To aid with the effort, Mayor Dan Porter signed a proclamation stating that July 12-20 would be known as Paint the Town Purple Days.
Relay for Life are organized, overnight community fundraising walks. This year’s event in Cortez is held at Parque de Vida on Friday, July 19. A short opening ceremony starts at 6 p.m., followed by the Survivor’s Lap.
During the Survivors Lap, all cancer survivors at the event are invited to take the first lap around the track, celebrating their victory over cancer.
Scheduled for 9 p.m., a Luminary Lap is held, where candles are lit inside of personalized bags and placed around the track as glowing tributes to those who have been affected by cancer.
“Both the survivor’s lap and luminary lap are very powerful and emotional,” Nofsinger said.
Captain of JoJo’s Dream Team, Nofsinger had raised nearly half of her personal $1,000 goal as of press time.
She said the fundraiser is unique, because it requires an individual from each team to be walking all night long.
“The reason is that cancer never sleeps, and survivors have it the roughest in the middle of the night,” she said.
Dr. Gordy Klatt made the first strides for Relay for Life in May 1985 when he walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Wash., ultimately raising $27,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Since those first steps, the Relay for Life movement has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, raising more than $4 billion to fight cancer.
It’s not too late to sign up for or support the Cortez event.
For more information, call Patti Moss at 564-1400 or Susan Williams at 247-0278.
To donate online, visit www.relayforlife.org.