Karen Irwin has faced cancer, both in her own life and in the lives of family members.
Her mother and father both died of cancer, and she has lost her grandfathers, an aunt, and two uncles to the disease.
Her brother, another aunt and another uncle are cancer survivors. Irwin herself is a cancer survivor, having had skin cancer several years ago.
Irwin is chairwoman for this year’s Relay For Life of Clarke County.
This year’s event, which is open to the public, is slated for Friday, June 13, at the Clarke Community High School’s track. The opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. The first lap of the relay will be for survivors and their caregivers. The closing ceremony is scheduled for 11:45 p.m.
“The relay for me is a support system,” said Irwin of Weldon. “We all know people who have been affected by cancer. It’s phenomenal to see all the survivors come together.”
She has been involved with Relay for Life for more than 20 years, the last two as chair for Clarke County Relay for Life.
The relay is not a race, but it’s packed with events that celebrate the lives of people who have encountered cancer and passed, people who have lived, and people who care for those with cancer.
One of the highlights of the event is the luminaria ceremony, which takes place at dusk.
If you have never seen the luminarias around the track in honor or in memory of a loved one, it is a memorable event. If anyone is interested in purchasing a luminaria in honor or memory of a loved one you can do so by contacting a Relay For Life team or they will be sold at relay.
“We would like to encourage everyone to come and experience Relay for Life, whether you are a registered participant or not. It is really a fun, family atmosphere.” Irwin said.
Hy-Vee will provide food with the proceeds going to the relay. There will be music and activities throughout the evening and some teams will have on-site fundraising activities.
For more information or to register or make a donation call 641-572-0100 or go to www.relayforlife.org/clarkecountyia.