Fundraiser organizers host kickoff party

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

To remember, celebrate and fight back is the purpose behind the 2008 Roosevelt County Relay for Life. Organizers, students, parents and survivors gathered in support of the upcoming relay during a kickoff party held on Tuesday night in the Portales High School cafeteria.

“Cancer happens everyday in every community,” said event co-organizer Debbie Stenstrom.

“Relay Like a Rock Star” will be held Feb. 22-23 in the Eastern New Mexico University Greyhound Arena. A survivor celebration dinner will be held at 5:30 p.m., followed by opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. The event will continue through the night, ending at 8 a.m. the following morning, Stenstrom said.

During an emotional speech, cancer survivor Julie Miller spoke of the importance of hosting a Relay for Life event in the community.

“All I can say is you never know when it’s going to touch your life,” Miller said.

Miller also recognized the efforts of both the adults and the many students that are involved in the local event.

“We are so proud of what our students are doing,” Miller said.

According to Stenstrom, the event is organized by students from Portales, Clovis and Texico Family, Career and Community Leaders of America chapters. This is the third year for the event to be hosted by the student organization. Also on board this year will be more
FCCLA chapters from Clovis and the Elida FCCLA chapter, Stenstrom said.

A combined total of $55,000 has been raised during the past events. Last year the event raised around $31,000 and event organizers are hoping to exceed that amount during the 2008 Relay for Life event, Stenstrom said.

“We’re raising the bar. We want the teams to work really hard and raise more money (this year),” Stenstrom said.

For more information on how to participate in the event or if you are a survivor and would like to attend the event, Stenstrom can be contacted at 693-2369.