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There will be plenty of chicken wings, nachos and sub sandwiches consumed during Super Bowl LIII, but Relay For Life of Platte County organizers hope to get people out for a sweet treat and fellowship prior to kickoff Sunday.

Organizers are hosting a social gathering for area cancer survivors, caregivers and anyone else who has been affected by the deadly disease at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 3205 12th St. Attendees will be treated to complimentary root beer floats during the hour-long social function that will give people a chance to visit and discuss this summer’s event.

“We have a large (number) of survivors in Platte County, as well as a large number of individuals who have passed on we want to remember,” said Suanne Boswell, an RFL of Platte County event co-chairwoman. “The event this weekend is generally geared toward survivors and caregivers. We mainly just want to let them know what’s going on with Relay For Life this year.”

Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, and staffed and coordinated by volunteers in thousands of communities and in 27 countries, according to ACS. The event specifically is a team-fundraising effort in which participants take turns walking around a designated path over a period of six to 24 hours. Each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that “cancer never sleeps” and to acknowledge how cancer patients fight 24/7.

This year’s Platte County Relay For Life is scheduled to run from 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 22, in Frankfort Square for a second consecutive year.

“It went really good,” Boswell said of the 2018 Relay For Life. “We had a lot of positive comments on the intimate setting and how everyone was able to see everything going on. People really enjoyed the area.”

The local chapter fundraises throughout the year for the June relay, however, this weekend will be just about kicking back and enjoy each other's company.

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“It’s another chance to see each other,” said Robbin Cutsor, another member of the local RFL chapter’s leadership team. “We want to make sure our survivors know they are the reason we do what we do, and that caregivers who have lost their survivors know that we are still here for them and here to support them. We care about them … I always enjoy seeing survivors again.”

Boswell said functions like this Sunday are important because nobody should be dealing with cancer alone, noting the illness doesn’t discriminate. ACS estimates there will be an estimated 1,762,450 new cancer cases diagnosed and 606,880 cancer deaths in the U.S this year.

“We just want to continue on the fight against cancer and support those in our community who have dealt with the disease,” she said. “Whether they are newly diagnosed or have been battling cancer for years, we recognize them all. They’re all invited. Come enjoy a little more camaraderie among fellow survivors.”

The gathering will also give attendees the chance to sign up to participate or volunteer in June’s relay, among other things, before enjoying the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams clash. Otherwise, get a fix for your sweet tooth.

“Everyone can sign up and have root beer floats,” Cutsor said. “It’s a laid-back atmosphere.”

Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at matt.lindberglee.net.

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Managing Editor

Matt Lindberg is an award-winning journalist and graduate of the University of Kansas.

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