Raising hope

By Emily Crowe

ecrowe@cnjonline.com

Breast cancer survivor Elaine Wygant likes being a part of Relay for Life because she can see her community come together to help find a cure for what she knows to be a horrible disease.

Community togetherness coupled with caring and support for those with cancer was a common theme among participants at this year’s Relay for Life of Clovis/Curry County, held Friday evening at Hillcrest Park.

Staff photo: Emily Crowe Hank Baskett, Jr., this year’s Relay for Life honorary chair, welcomed participants to the event at Hillcrest Park and spoke about his own battle with cancer.

Staff photo: Emily Crowe
Hank Baskett, Jr., this year’s Relay for Life honorary chair, welcomed participants to the event at Hillcrest Park and spoke about his own battle with cancer.

Wygant, who currently has no evidence of cancer, participated in the survivor reception and barbecue dinner held before the opening of this year’s event, and enjoyed the camaraderie among fellow cancer survivors and their caregivers.

Clovis Mayor David Lansford offered a proclamation to kick off Relay, and said he also enjoys seeing the community come together to show its support for those afflicted with cancer.

“Your expression of love tonight is very, very, very impressive,” he said.

Hank Baskett, Jr., a cancer survior and this year’s honorary chair, told the crowd that it was great to see everyone who had been touched by cancer and those who were present just because they care.

“I look out around here and it’s just beautiful,” he said. “I see (everyone) from the little strollers that can’t walk all the way up to I don’t know what age, but you know, it’s just beautiful.”

According to Relay for Life Specialist Dorothy Nelson, 114 teams participated in the evening’s festivities. Teams sold burritos, baked goods, popcorn and pickles, and also offered games and giveaways to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Plains Regional Medical Center was represented by one of Relay’s biggest earning teams.

Hope Bildilli, pharmacy technician and team captain for PRMC, estimated that the team raised nearly $14,000 before the Relay for Life event had even started.

Staff photo: Emily Crowe The Cordova Cancer Crusaders was a team made up of more than 28 family members who have been touched by cancer.

Staff photo: Emily Crowe
The Cordova Cancer Crusaders was a team made up of more than 28 family members who have been touched by cancer.

“This year has been one of our best years,” she said.

Bildilli believes it is important for PRMC to take a lead in Relay for Life since it is the home of the Cancer Center and is at the core of fighting the disease.

Nelson said the event was off to a great start thanks to great planning and various donations from local businesses, including electrical poles installed by Xcel Energy and Farmers’ Electric to help keep the evening properly lit up.

“I just couldn’t be more pleased,” Nelson said.