Members of the Ramblin’ Rosebuds Relay for Life team include Sheila Norby, Sharon Hanson, Carol Gaustad, Angie Bennett and daughters Paige and Kendyl, Bill and Holly Cox and daughters Miranda and Camryn, Melissa Tulsty and daughter Haley, Karen Brown and Gala (Kay) Afseth.  SUBMITTED PHOTO
Members of the Ramblin’ Rosebuds Relay for Life team include Sheila Norby, Sharon Hanson, Carol Gaustad, Angie Bennett and daughters Paige and Kendyl, Bill and Holly Cox and daughters Miranda and Camryn, Melissa Tulsty and daughter Haley, Karen Brown and Gala (Kay) Afseth. SUBMITTED PHOTO
"We continue to walk in hope," explained Sheila Norby of the Ramblin' Rosebuds Relay for Life team. "Almost all of us have been touched by cancer in some way, so we've decided to make a difference by walking and raising money in the American Cancer Relay for Life."

They will be walking the course once again on Friday, July 11, as Harmony hosts this year's Fillmore County Relay for Life at the community center on the west edge of town.

In 2003, Karen Brown and Sheila Norby joined a Mabel team, along with other friends and some survivors of cancer to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society.

"It was a meaningful, memorable and fun experience. Little did I know the following year it would become all too personal and hit my family without warning," Norby stated. Her mother, Lylas Rasmussen, was diagnosed with advanced liver/pancreatic cancer. They were given two and a half months that would forever be etched in their hearts and memories.

"My mom Lylas K. Rasmussen passed away July 7, 2004, and I continue to walk in her memory," Norby said.

In 2005, Norby, along with her sisters, her daughters and Karen Brown decided they should form their own team. "We wanted it to be a tribute to my mom, Lylas. Mom was such a flower lover - an avid gardener - hence our team name The Ramblin' Rosebuds," Norby proudly said.

Survivors

Sheila's sister, Sharon Hanson of Spring Grove is a Hodgkins lymphoma survivor and is a member of the team. She has been in remission for over 30 years.

Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system helps the body's immune system filter out bacteria, viruses and other unwanted substances. The lymphatic system includes the lymph nodes (which are sometimes called glands), thymus, spleen, tonsils, adenoids and bone marrow, as well as the channels (called lymphatics or lymph vessels) that connect them.

In the spring of 2011, Norby's brother, Dean Rasmussen, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, also called non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is cancer that originates in one's lymphatic system, the disease-fighting network spread throughout one's body. In non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, tumors develop from lymphocytes - a type of white blood cell.

"He has had countless rounds of chemo and radiation, surgery on his brain to remove a tumor, and last July, doctors in Madison harvested Dean's own cells for a stem cell transplant," Norby explained. "He has remained optimistic. He is such an inspiration!"

Raising money

"The local businesses, friends and family have generously donated," Norby said.

Just recently Norby received a couple of barnboard quilts donated from Jerald and Pat Oakes of Spring Grove and Sue Stortz of Mabel donated a quilted wall hanging for the silent auction that will take place on Friday, July 12, in the halls of the Harmony community center, from 5 to 10 p.m.

Norby stated that not only can one donate items for the silent auction, or give monetary donations, but one can also purchase a luminary. During the Relay For Life Luminaria Ceremony, votive candles are lit inside of personalized bags to shine a light on the fight against cancer. Luminaries are one for $10 or three for $25.

In previous years, Norby and Sandy Benson have coordinated a community fashion show and luncheon to share with 230 ticket holders. In 2008, Norby's granddaughter, Miranda Cox, participated in the Locks for Love program. Miranda made posters and asked for donations to achieve her goal of $500 to cut her hair at the Relay for Life being held in Mabel that year.

Norby proudly stated, "She raised over $1,200!"

Norby and her team members continue to come up with new ways to raise money for awareness and a cure.

"We will be selling bars the night of the Relay for Life," Norby said. And just maybe there will be some of her daughter Melissa's famous Kolaches as well.

"The Relay for Life signifies that we continue to celebrate the survivors, remember those that have lost their lives to it, and support those who are currently battling it," spoke Norby.

If one would like to find a schedule of activities for the Relay for Life taking place in Harmony at the Harmony Community Center on Friday, July 12, one can google Relay for Life of Fillmore County. A complete list of events will also be published in next Monday's Bluff Country Reader.