BLOOMFIELD — Ernie Phelps was careful to unravel a string of lights to use as decoration for a dinner to honor cancer survivors today here.

Phelps was helping as part of his family's participation in the Relay for Life, an annual event that raises money for the American Cancer Society.

The Aztec resident survived kidney cancer a year ago and his wife, Helen Phelps, and their daughter, Sheridy Walker, are cancer survivors, as well.

"The main reason is to let people know that no matter what kind (of cancer) you have, there is hope," Phelps said about his reason for participating in the event.

Walker said she was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer six years ago.


When she was undergoing chemotherapy and treatment, a friend invited her to the cancer survivors dinner.

Since then, she has been involved with Relay for Life.

"I really have a heart for the survivors and the caregivers," Walker said.

Ten teams will participate in the Relay for Life of San Juan County on Saturday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington.

The event is open to the public and it will start with an opening ceremony at 6 p.m.


"You can come and walk one lap. You can walk an hour, you can walk all night, it's completely up to you," said Mychelle McGee, a member of Team Ladera.

Immediately following the opening ceremony, cancer survivors will walk the first lap.

There will be a luminarias ceremony at 9 p.m., and teams will sell luminarias for $10.

As part of the participation by teams, a member must be on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps, according to the American Cancer Society website.

There will be activities during the event, and teams will continue to fund raise by selling items like food and drinks.

"We have activities all night long — every hour — to keep participants engaged," McGee said.

The event concludes with a closing ceremony at 6 a.m. Sunday.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.

If you go

What: Relay for Life of San Juan County
When: 6 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday
Where: Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington, 1825 E. 19th St.
Cost: Free
More information: Call Mychelle McGee at 505-486-1515

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