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Relay for Life strides back to Bowman

April 07, 2015

Relay for Life strides back to Bowman


Planning is underway for this year’s  as it heads back to  for the first time in several years.

At last year's Relay for Life in Hettinger. (File photo by Denise Andress | Reflections Studio)

At last year’s Relay for Life in Hettinger. (File photo by Denise Andress | Reflections Studio)

By Bryce Martin | Pioneer Editor |

Planning is underway for this year’s Relay for Life as it heads back to Bowman for the first time in several years.

Relay for Life is a 12-hour walk/run to advocate for cancer research and raise funds. It was established by the and has subsequently been held across the nation each year, with southwest North Dakota’s relay being held in Hettinger most recently.

It is scheduled to be held in Bowman on June 26.

relay infoA committee of six people within the community has been working to set up plans for the event, which is not a small undertaking.

Sue Abrahamson of Bowman is one of those committee members and exudes a passion for bringing the event back to the community.

Abrahamson is a cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2013.

“I’m in this 100 percent for the simple reason (that) my mom, my dad, my mother-in-law, my husband and myself have all been affected by cancer,” Abrahamson said. “It’s important to me.”

Kent Anderson, organizer with Relay for Life North Dakota, said the first year Bowman hosted the event was “crazy successful.” Bowman’s organization of the relay also won several awards in previous years.

The Bowman community is very supportive, according to Abrahamson, especially considering Bowman County was affected by cancer on a particularly large-scale last year.

Right now, finding teams for the event is the top priority.

Abrahamson said teams should sign up before the end of April. That provides adequate time for any teams wishing to hold their own special events leading up to the relay.

The goal of the event is to raise $45,000 for Bowman County and Abrahamson said they are hoping to surpass that.

“We have a few things that we’re working on to make it a fun event,” she said.

Abrahamson’s own team of 15 people, half of which are survivors and the other half friends of the survivors, named itself Princess and the Divas. Sage Ouradnik, a local girl battling cancer, is “the princess.”

Abrahamson said her team is planning some special things to commemorate the event, things that the whole community can participate in.

The relay will be held on the walking path at the north side of Bowman near . At least one member of each team is required to be walking or running during the 12-hour event, which begins at 6 p.m. June 26 and ends the following morning at 6 a.m.

To help raise funds, each team member is expected to raise $100.

Following the relay at dark, survivors and the loved ones who gathered to support them can ignite a luminary as a glowing tribute for those affected by cancer.

The Relay for Life movement is the world’s largest support group for survivors and their caregivers, according to the American Cancer Society, which established the event. It is hosted annually throughout 5,200 communities across the country.

“Whether you’re a survivor or caregiver, getting involved in your local Relay for Life event can introduce you to others who are facing the same challenges, and provide opportunities for learning, sharing, and friendship,” read an encouraging scribe on the Relay for Life website.

The money raised by Relay for Life goes to find a cure, local services, education, patient services and advocacy. The funds raised aren’t solely for research, as Abrahamson pointed out.

Since it was founded, Relay for Life has helped to fund 48 Nobel Prize winners and startup researchers. One such researcher recently funded by Relay for Life is in North Dakota.

“[Research] has to be done somewhere,” Anderson said.

Putting on the relay is a big operation, considering the amount of work and volunteer hours locally that goes into setting up for such a large event.

“It’s a lot of work to put on one of these events,” Anderson said. “I think it’s well worth it. It builds the community up, it honors those who are fighting the battle and lets those who are fighting know we are with them and we stand with them and we support them.”

▪ To sign up a team for the relay or to help sponsor the event, contact Sue Abrahamson at (701) 440-8344 and leave a message. Or, for more information on how you can become involved, contact Kent Anderson at (701) 250-1022 or email at