Lincoln Relayers brave the heat

By: Liz Kellar The News Messenger
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Despite temperatures approaching the 100-degree mark, Lincoln residents came out in force for the third annual Relay for Life Saturday. “I was impressed with the way people were able to handle the heat,” co-chair Kris Wyatt said Tuesday. “Thanks to the volunteers, we had so much water donated. We did run out and had to go out and get more, though.” The Lincoln Fire Department did its part, Wyatt said, spraying people with hoses to keep them cool. A lot of participants also thought ahead, Wyatt added. “People brought their kiddie pools,” she said. “It helped me out, I’ll tell ya.” Relay co-chairs Wyatt and Mandy Walker didn’t quite make their goal this year of 70 teams and $175,000, Wyatt said. While Wyatt didn’t have the exact number of teams that walked, she believed it was close to last year’s total of 55. As of Tuesday, the amount raised was at a little more than $138,000. “That’s not the final total,” Wyatt said. “People can still donate through August.” Wyatt said the economy was partly to blame for the lower numbers, as was a somewhat confusing online registration process. “People has a hard time getting online and donating, it was a little confusing,” she said. “Some people gave up.” Wyatt added that many people, as they did the previous year, came to the Relay with their money instead of pre-registering. “A lot of people came through at the very last moment,” she said. “On our bank day, May 5, we only had $50,000, and two weeks later we had $138,000.” In the American Cancer Society fundraiser for cancer awareness and research, community groups – many clad in purple to celebrate survivors – pledge to keep walking the track for 24 hours. This year’s theme was Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back. The event kicked off at 9 a.m. Several survivors spoke, including Rebecca Carbajal, CJ Nichols and Reggie and Amy Jefferson -- who were at the Relay on their sixth anniversary. Cancer survivors took the first lap before the Relay teams started out. The traditional luminaria display, in which each lighted bag represents an individual battle with cancer, was at 9 p.m. The luminaria ceremony was coordinated by co-chairs Amy Aceto and Mandy Retallack. Several individuals and groups performed, including Art Brust from Sun City Lincoln Hills Community Church, the Creekside Oaks Elementary School Choir, bagpiper Jim Spiva and Lincoln High School senior Jordan Burrows. Volunteers and students filled the luminaria bags with sand donated by Lincoln Sand and Gravel and then lit them. For more information, contact Christina Breiner at 645-5298 or