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Relay For Life still moving ahead

The cancer fighters will be out in full force again this year for the Relay for Life of Woodbury on June 19 and 20.

"We call it the reason to relay," said Relay for Life co-chair, referring to cancer. "What is your Relay story? Everybody has one. It might not be a first degree of separation, but everybody is drawn to giving their time, giving their money and camping out in the middle of the night in a park."

Relay for Life is an annual event. It brings more that 3.5 million people together nation-wide to celebrate the lives of those who have lost their battles with cancer, and those who continue to fight against it.

Teams camp out overnight while taking turns walking around a track to raise money and awareness.

Woodbury's goal this year is to raise $230,000.

This year's Relay reaches new heights, like the American Cancer Society's Department of Epidemiology Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS3), but also new challenges like the economy.

"The challenge we're facing this year is that everyone's pockets are pinched. How are we going to reach that increased goal?" LaPrairie said. "And the thrust is to just have more teams."

CPS3 is only the third study to be conducted and this is the first year that Minnesota has been involved. Woodbury and Rochester were the two locations chosen to participate.

The goal of the study is to draw 50,000 adults to participate in the study which tracks lifestyle behaviors for 20 years in hopes of identifying any links between those diagnosed with cancer.

LaPrairie said she is optimistic in drawing the event's goal of 65 teams, with an average of 10 people per team this year.

"We may see more people than before because this is historic and people want to be a part of finding the cure," she said.

To register a team for Relay for Life visit:

Anywhere between 2,500 and 3,000 people come out for Relay for Life year after year to raise money, raise awareness and have fun at the same time.

"We still see the regulars coming in. They're great fundraisers, they have a blast on the track and they're heartfelt," LaPrairie said. "But we also see the new ones come in."

This year's Relay for Life will offer entertainment from Woodbury resident Matt Griswold and the Distractions, as well speeches, concession and the opening walk of cancer survivors.

"It's wonderful to see the sea of purple of people who are fighting it, and fought it and won," LaPrairie said. "Relay for Life is a party with a purpose."

Regardless of how many teams come out or how much money is raised, LaPrairie said she is hopeful of the Relay for Life being a success.

"We keep saying this is going to be one for the record books," she said. "Cancer is very much all about hope, so we just have to hope that it's going to be the success we want it to be."

The 2009 Woodbury Relay for Life is June 19-20 from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. at Ojibway Park. For more information or to register a team visit:

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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