By Samantha Pidde Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — Each year, teams run to raise money for breast cancer research and education.
Clinton County Relay for Life Chairwoman Jan Thompson was been involved in the event since it began in the community 16 years ago. Working in the Radiation Oncology department at Mercy Medical Center, she was part of a team and helped put together a survivor list.
Having lost her grandmother, mother-in-law, father-in-law and father to different types of cancer, the issue is one near to her heart. Working in the hospital, she has cared for many in the community as they struggle with their diagnosis.
“Many tears and hugs come with their path from diagnosis, treatment, cure and end of life,” Thompson said. “I have had the honor of taking part in all of those events.”
Both her family’s experiences with cancer and her interaction with her patients have impressed the importance of Relay for Life onto Thompson.
“There is a reason to relay,” Thompson said.
Money raised from this annual event is used for cancer research, education, advocacy and services provided by the American Cancer Society. Some of the services provided include: Reach For Recovery, which provides breast cancer education; Road to Recovery, providing assistance with rides to treatment and physician appointments; Look Good Feel Better, which provides assistance with hair, wigs and makeup tips.
Proceeds also support the Hope Lodge, a place for cancer patients to stay for free while going through treatment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
For the past several years, the August Relay for Life event has been held at Camanche High School. Last year, Clinton County raised more than $101,000.
The 2014 Honorary Chairwoman Marla Naeve is hoping to get the word out and see the event spread throughout Clinton County, into other area communities.
“More teams, more towns. To really pass the word and really unite us as Clinton County,” Naeve said.
The 2014 event is planned for Aug. 4, 2014, starting with a survivor dinner and following with opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. This year, Thompson plans to bring back the original relay, with team members walking the track throughout the event until 6 a.m. the next morning, passing the relay baton to the next team member.
“Cancer does not sleep at night and we will not that night either,” Thompson said.
Teams will be able to have their own campsites to decorate in the theme. Entertainment, food, games and music will be provided.
For more information on planning the event, call Thomson at 242-1450.