Walk supports cancer research, education

EVART – Kamber Cushman was six months old when she was diagnosed with neuroglastoma. After multiple treatments, surgeries and visits to the hospital, Kamber beat the life-threatening disease.

Now 8 years old, Kamber was the youngest cancer survivor to walk in the survivor’s lap at the Osceola County Relay for Life at the Osceola County 4-H FFA Fairgrounds in Evart on Saturday.

“That was a very difficult time in our life. This is a way to give back,” said Kamber’s mom, Angie Cushman.

The goal of the event was to raise $30,000 for the American Cancer Society and brought together survivors, family and community members to celebrate survivors and encourage those still struggling with cancer. Money raised at the 24-hour event will be used for research, education, advocacy and patient services.

As of Friday evening, $19,000 had been raised.

“It really shows what we can do as a community to fight cancer and to make tomorrow a world of hope,” said Community Representative Mary Lynn Robertson.

In celebration of Kamber’s cancer victory, her friends and family formed Kamber’s Crew. The group raised more than $1,200 for the American Cancer Society.

Twenty teams participated in the annual event, for a total of 300 walkers.

While making their way around the track, individuals could listen to live music, participate in many themed laps including a walking-backward lap, a hokey pokey lap, a bubble-blowing lap and a chicken dance lap among many others.

“It’s a community event. It brings people together,” Robertson said. “They see friends who they haven’t seen in a while. It’s a real family-friendly environment.”

Along with the fun parts of the event, the Relay for Life also included a more serious side, including a survivor’s lap and caregiver’s ceremony.

“The survivor’s lap is pretty moving and pretty emotional,” Robertson said.

A luminaria ceremony also took place at dusk. Candles were lit inside bags lining the track, either in memory of those who have passed or in honor of individuals still battling with cancer.

Teams from local schools, health care facilities, churches and other groups all joined in for the annual event. Many teams set up canopy tents and sold bracelets or food items to raise additional funds.

Kathy Livingston and her sister, Pat Manturuk, were part of the Sacred Heart Church - Faith in a cure team. They walked the track to celebrate their older sister, Elizabeth, who survived breast cancer.

“She took care of us when we were young, so we’re doing this for her,” Livingston said.

Though Elizabeth was unable to attend the event, the sisters proudly walked for their oldest sibling.

Manturuk said her sister’s positive attitude after facing the life-threatening disease is an inspiration to her every day.

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from the Relay for Life.