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Libby Relay for Life surpasses all expectations

| August 8, 2007 12:00 AM

By KYLE McCLELLAN The Western News

The first ever American Cancer Society Relay for Life fundraiser in Libby raised more than $34,000 and was one of the best first-time events the society has seen, said ACS community relationship manager Janell Kuhn.

"I was very impressed with all your community support and business support," Kuhn said from Missoula Monday. "All the youth involvement was amazing — the football players, the baseball players, the cheerleaders, it's quite the community you have there."

Local Relay coordinator Diane Rewerts said that similar events in nearby towns, like Whitefish and Columbia Falls, had garnered nearly $25,000 each, which provided an initial goal for the Libby team.

Rewerts said she was overwhelmed to surpass the amount raised by larger communities.

An estimated 300 people turned out for the celebration of live music, food, vendors and life at Asa Wood Elementary School Friday.

The event comprised 65 cancer survivors, 21 teams and 1,300 luminarias - the small sand-filled bags that glow by candlelight throughout the night.

Each luminaria is a namesake tribute to a current cancer survivor or cancer victim.

Supporters were able to light all the luminarias within 20 minutes, Rewertz said.