Community members unite to raise money for cancer research and support each other

In 2010, Goldie Spahn participated in Relay for Life – a fundraising event for cancer research – for the first time in her life. Just a couple years after surviving cervical cancer, Spahn was taken back during the Survivor's Lap, realizing that there were so many people in the area that had fought the same battle as she had.

“Cancer is everywhere and it affects everyone. You just never know,” she said. “It was neat to be out there with so many people in the community that you know, but you didn't know that you shared ­that in common with them.”

It is estimated that Pulaski County will have an estimated cancer incident rate of 165 newly diagnosed patients in 2013.

Spahn said that the overnight fundraising event symbolizes the cancer process as participants empower each other to fight fatigue and continue to walk throughout the night to help raise money and awareness for cancer.

“Throughout the treatment process, you start out OK, but as it progresses, it's hard to go on,” she said. “Staying overnight [at Relay For Life] is overwhelming because you're tired and it gets cold. But eventually the sun comes up and you look around and everybody is still there, walking and cheering everybody else on and there to uplift each other.”

Spahn has participated in the event every year since, and this year is serving as the Event Chair for Relay for Life.

The campaign officially began with more than 150 people attending the kickoff event, where participants raised money, listened to special guests former including NFL player Gijon Robinson, Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman, and discussed this year's campaign goals.

Spahn said that the campaign hopes to raise $75,000 this year and have 30 teams participate. This year, the organization wants to host a youth relay in the spring as well.

Last year, Relay For Life of Pulaski County raised more than $43,800 with 24 teams and 64 cancer survivors participating.

“This year we want to increase our survivors, increase our teams, and increase our total fundraising,” she said.

This year’s event will held on be Saturday, Sept. 28th from 12 p.m. to 12:30 a.m in the Roubidoux Park. It is open to the public and the teams will have fundraisers, food, and games. All survivors and caregivers are encouraged to register. The Survivor's Lap will be held during Opening Ceremony, which celebrates the victory of local cancer survivors.

For more information on the local Relay for Life campaign, visit their website at or their Facebook page at