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Purple has power to help others

If things start turning purple before your eyes in the next few weeks, don’t be surprised. In fact, be overjoyed.

That’s because those working to fight cancer are making strides to raise awareness and funds to battle the disease.

Purple has been designated as the color to represent Relay for Life, a 12-hour walk to benefit the American Cancer Society. And this year, local organizers are doing their best to paint the entire town purple, get more people involved and raise more money. Hopefully $25,000.

The relay, scheduled from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. April 29 and 30 on the track at Boulder City High School, is actually more than just one event. It is like a relay itself, handing off from one event to another, building excitement for the 12-hour walk and celebration.

Organizers started this year’s festivities in January with a Stew and Brew cookoff.

On Saturday, past and present sponsors were honored with a dinner that also offered a chance to meet this year’s honoree, Amy Denney McGee.

Miss Amy, a young mother, discovered a lump in her breast two years ago. She already had lost her grandmother and two aunts to the disease, so she wasn’t about to let it get her, too, she told those at the dinner.

Testing showed Stage 3 tubal carcinoma in both of her breasts, as well as skin cancer on top of them. She had a double mastectomy and three failed attempts at reconstructive surgery so far.

If that were not enough, one of the medicines used to treat her cancer caused uterine problems and resulted in her having a hysterectomy.

But there is good news. She wakes up every morning and can kiss her kids every day, she said. Plus, her hair is growing back.

Those things put a big smile on her face.

Her motto, just keep on swimming, is serving as the theme for this year’s relay.

Amy is just one of many reasons — or people — why organizers are working so hard, said relay co-chairwoman Myra Davis.

The next event on their calendar is the March 19 parking lot sale at Marshall Plaza between Chilly Jilly’z and Vinny’s Pizzeria. To be held from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., the sale will feature nearly everything except clothing (because they don’t have a good way to display it), Myra said.

That morning at 10, one of the relay teams will host the Top Hat and Tails Dog Show, with a small entry fee for its fun contests such as waggiest tail, shortest or longest tail, etc.

The purple infusion begins in earnest on April 2 with a Paint the Town Purple scavenger hunt. For a $10 entry fee, each team of at least two will be given a list of items to find as well as two purple bows and balloons. Myra said they will be asked to take pictures of the bows being placed in town somewhere while gathering up the items on the list.

The hunt will begin at 11 a.m. at Jack’s Place, 544 Nevada Way, and end at 2 p.m.

She hopes this will inspire to help in their efforts to turn everything purple. In the past, only a small handful of people — typically relay organizers — were there.

Myra said she knows people care and want to help, but sometimes they can’t make it to the relay itself for one reason or another. These events give them options.

“I want relay to last all year,” she said, adding that walk should be a time to honor the survivors and remember those who have died. Of course, all while helping raise money for the cancer society and having a bit of fun.

Every little bit helps, Myra said

Consider the contribution of 21-year-old Kaitie Murphy. She transformed jars into seaglobes (think snowglobes but with an ocean theme) for Saturday’s awards dinner.

With tears in her eyes, she said she likes to help and needed to. She just learned that her grandfather has Stage 4 cancer that started in his pancreas and spread up his entire left side.

Myra said very few people are not touched by cancer. Her father, who beat lung cancer, eventually succumbed to brain cancer, just like his father.

I’m among that group, too. My grandmother fought breast cancer and won, but my sister-in-law was not as lucky. Neither was my brother-in-law, who also put up a valiant fight against cancer.

Let’s help purple have purpose and give it the power to aid others.

More information about the local event can be found at www.relayforlife.org/bouldercitynv

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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