Relay For Hope Event Helps Fight Cancer

by Austin Arnold   While the sky threatened rain, after much had fallen earlier in the day, it held off and for the large group of people that had gathered at Bluffton Family Recreation (BFR) it made for a pleasant Friday evening. The local sports and fitness center was abuzz as members of the community and the area came out to support Bluffton’s annual Relay for Hope.
   A little after 6:00 p.m., an opening ceremony was held for the all-night-long event. After members of the Bluffton American Legion gave their salute to the flag, the Star Spangled Banner was sung by Bluffton’s Courtney McGlaughlin. Mayor Judy Augsburger was also present as she shared a few thoughts with the crowd before the Relay officially started.
   “Thank you all for being here tonight. This is a big night for Bluffton. I know that we are here to raise money for cancer research with the hope of ending this dreaded disease. But it’s much more than that. We are here to celebrate life and a victory over the ugliness of cancer. We honor our loved ones, the survivors, and we memorialize those who fought the fight and are now angels in heaven,” Augsburger said.
   She continued, “In this crowd, I see strength and perseverance. I see love and friendship, and a sincere and genuine support for each other. I see your faces but I feel your pain, and I sense your hope. Hope for a world without cancer. Hope that someday cancer is just a constellation in the sky.” Once Augsburger concluded, the cancer survivors in attendance took the track, outlined by luminaries in BFR’s parking lot, to walk the opening lap. Then, all other participants were invited to walk on the track.
   Many activities were also being held inside BFR’s gym as it was the host site for the annual silent auction, which went on to raise nearly $4,000, and a painted chair auction, which raised $175. Also inside there was food available, and activities for kids such as mini bounce houses and ocean themed toys for them to play with.
   The BFR gym is also where one of the staples of any Bluffton Relay event was held – the annual pie contest and auction. Jeff Stratton and Matthew Gillett served as the judges and tasters of the 25 homemade pie entries. This year, the winners were all from Bluffton.  Barb Hohenbrink won first place with her Caramel Pie, April Dorman placed second with an Apple Bacon Crumb Pie and third place went to Sheree Stratton with her Salted Caramel Apple Pie.

See the full story in the Bluffton News