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Walking the trail of light in Dickinson

Press Photo by Linda Sailer Stark County Relay for Life co-chairwoman Cari Obrigewitsch shows two decorated luminaries Friday at Dakota Community Bank. The luminaries will be among more than 2,000 that will line the Dickinson High School football practice field Friday.

Luminaries will line the Dickinson High School practice field when the Stark County Relay for Life gets under way Friday.

"You're basically walking between lines of luminaries with names of people who have lost their lives to cancer or are fighting cancer," relay co-chairwoman Cari Obrigewitsch said. "It's an overwhelming feeling at how many people are touched by cancer that you know -- people you didn't realize were fighting cancer."

Obrigewitsch became involved with Relay for Life nearly 10 years ago.

"I lost both my parents to cancer and other family members and friends have been touched by cancer," she said.

The planning committee works year around to organize teams who do fundraising and walk the track. The other co-chairwoman is Peggy Brown.

"We walk from 7 to 7 to represent the fact that cancer never sleeps," Obrigewitsch said. "The luminary bags are lit at dusk and people walk throughout the night."

Relay for Life starts with registration of cancer survivors at 4:30 p.m., followed by a program at 6 p.m. and the survivor's lap. Then everyone is invited to walk the track.

The program will include presentation of colors, greetings by the American Cancer Society and a guest speaker. This year, Cory Bittner will speak on behalf of his daughter, Grace.

Relay for Life continues to accept teams, with more than 20 already having registered, Obrigewitsch said.

The public is welcome to come at any time during the night, visit the vendors and walk the path of luminaries.

"We've had a couple tough years with storms, but this year, our prayer and hope is the weather cooperates and we have a beautiful night for people to stay longer," Obrigewitsch said.

Amanda Lindvig, who is the accounting chairwoman of the committee, became involved in the relay six years ago because of her grandmother and mother-in-law.

She encourages everyone to participate by purchasing a luminary, coming as a relay spectator or supporting the teams' booths. There will be two bouncy castles for the children to play on while their parents walk the track.

The luminaries may be purchased from team members, The Dickinson Press, Dakota Community Bank or Ladbury's Funeral Home. A donation of $10 is requested for each luminary. Many families personalize the luminaries before returning them to their teams or bringing them the evening of the relay, Lindvig said.

The goal of the Stark County Relay for Life is $80,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Lindvig said the closing ceremony is at 7 a.m. Saturday to conclude the long night.

"Cancer never sleeps 24/7," she said. "If you are a cancer patient or a caregiver, you don't get to sleep. We sacrifice a night of sleep for those who don't get that rest."