Letter to the Editor

Continue the fight

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dear residents of Red Willow County,

Every year in late July or early August for the past several years, my family heads to McCook for the Relay for Life from Colorado, South Dakota and here in Nebraska.

The 20 or so members of our team raise money (usually in the top 3 money raisers for the event), we pitch our tents (except for mom, who at 72 likes the comfort of her own bed, but returns for the final lap in the morning), we decorate for the theme, we play the games, do the exercises with Martha early in the morning, and we talk with survivors and others who are there to help with the fight.

We have organized games with the help of a local accounting firm, baked goodies for the cake walk, and put together baskets for auction items. Last year, Pat spent many hours making an amazing quilt from T-shirts of past relays to auction off at the event.

But it doesn't stop there. We spend money in that community: several trips to the grocery and retail stores, a splash at the pool, Mass on Sunday morning, an occasional liquor run.

Sometimes we treat ourselves to Rocket Inn Pizza, and there is always at least one visit to Mac's Drive In. We stay in hotels, as our family has grown too large for mom's house. It may not seem like a lot, but to us it is one weekend where we are there to support the community we all grew up in. A place we call HOME.

Now the real point of my letter is this. We recently received letters from the American Cancer Society stating there will not be a Relay in McCook this year due to lack of volunteers and leaders. This saddens us greatly.

Are there no others that believe in this fight? No one who can step up and take on this responsibility to help find a cure? We know it is a lot of work to organize an event like this. Linda was chairperson for two years in Buffalo county as well as a luminary chairperson for many years prior to that.

She made sure everyone had a responsibility when they showed up in town. Pat has participated in two Relays a year and has been on several committees in Greeley, Colorado, as well as being a youth advocate. Yet she still comes home to do her part.

As "Daddy's Little Angels" we will continue to fight for this cause, because just as many of you have, we lost someone very dear to us way too soon in life -- our dad. But this year we will participate in Minden where we have family ties.

Not where the closest place to "home" is having one. McCook has missed out on a great opportunity to do a wonderful thing for their community, friends and loved ones.

You may have missed out on seeing us come back.

Julie Knepper Patterson,

Conde, South Dakota

Peg Knepper Harders,

Grand Island

Pat Knepper,

Eaton, Colorado

Nancy Knepper Trail,

Yankton, South Dakota

Linda Knepper Gerih,

Minden, Nebraska

Angela Knepper Mason,

Loveland, Colorado

EDITOR'S NOTE -- Red Willow County's Relay For Life has joined forces with Furnas County, taking part in the event set for 7 p.m. Friday, June 25 in Arapahoe. Janet Rippe of McCook is the local contact person. She can be reached at (308) 340-6318 or jrippe@heartlandcattle.com More information is available at (800) 227-2345 or cancer.org.

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