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Walking to celebrate and to remember
Local Relay for Life raises $21,000-plus
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

June 13. 2014 6:00AM
Julie Morrissette and Bev Pfeifle both walked laps around the track at Brandon Valley High School Friday evening.

And while both women walked for the same cause, one did so as a survivor of breast cancer, the other walked to honor the memory of her husband, who lost his life to cancer in recent months.

Morrissette and Pfeifle were just two of many reasons behind the third annual Relay for Life of Brandon Valley-Garretson.

Co-chairwoman of the event, Brenda Feltman, said a dozen teams walked laps around the track from 6 p.m. to midnight. The event was condensed from an overnight affair to six hours, but the shortened event certainly didn’t damper the spirit of Relay.

“Several of the teams were new this year,” Feltman said, “and I love getting new people involved with Relay.”

Feltman said more than $21,000 has been raised to date, but that figure can continue to climb, as donations can be made through August. The $21,000-plus surpassed last year’s total of $18,500.

“We had a great event and were very happy with the turnout,” Feltman said. “I can’t wait to start planning for next year!”

The Pfeifle family came in numbers to the track Friday night – 22 in all – to honor the wishes of Lyle Pfeifle, who lost his battle to Myelodysplasia Syndrome on March 5.

“He had gone into the bank, and normally things like this don’t excite him at all,” Bev Pfeifle explained from her family's “campsite.” “But he came home after talking to Leann at First National and said, ‘Bev, we’re going to do this.’ Unfortunately, he didn’t make it, so we decided to do it in honor of him.”

Her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, “the whole works,” she adds, including her sister and her family, Lyle’s brother from Colorado, came out to carry out Lyle’s wish.

“The whole works” all donned T-shirts that read: “The bravest hero I ever knew now watches over me everyday.”

For Bev, taking part in the second official lap of Relay for Life – the caregiver’s lap – brought out her emotions.

“It kind of hurt,” she said as she wiped away tears, “it’s a little bit too new.”

But despite her emotions, Bev smiled through the tears as she surveyed the crowd, picking out members of her crew.
“It meant a lot that everybody was here plugging for him,” she said.

Canadian transplant, Julie Morrissette, who works at Brandon’s wind-tower producing company, Marmen Energy, organized a team of family, friends and co-workers. And in the process, the group collected $1,055, which their employer has promised to match dollar for dollar.

That had Morrissette grinning from ear to ear Friday.

But the smile on her face was radiating for another reason, too: a recent clean bill of health from breast cancer.

“I just finished radiation on April 1, so I’m a survivor!” she shared.

Morrissette had somewhat of a bit rude welcoming to the United States after relocating here from Canada in June of last year to work at Marmen’s newest location. A month later, her breast cancer was detected.

“My mother had breast cancer, so I had to be more careful,” she said.

She battled through the radiation and chemotherapy process, eventually losing her hair. It’s since grown back to a cute pixie-cut length, and Morrissette said she still cherishes the support she received from her colleagues at after losing her hair.

“I don’t how you call it in English, but they shaved their hair just to raise money in support,” she said.

And once again on Friday, her friends and co-workers were by her side, taking one step after another in support of her and of the Relay for Life cause.

“This means a lot,” she says.

Survivors of cancer gathered for the traditional "Survivor's Lap" at Friday's Relay for Life of Brandon Valley-Garretson. For more photos from the event, check out the photo gallery. Photo by Jill Meier

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