BULLHEAD CITY — The organizers of the Colorado River Relay for Life hosted a kickoff party on Wednesday at Laughlin Ranch to help sign up teams and individuals for the annual event that raises money to battle all forms of cancer.

The party brought a full house to the banquet room at Laughlin Ranch Bar and Grill to enjoy some good food, great music, and some very inspiring stories of hope, courage and endurance in the fight against cancer. 

Also discussed was information on the upcoming Relay for Life, March 13-14 at Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse in Bullhead City. 

The party was hosted by Class Act Band’s Grace Black, who pulled double duty as both emcee and lead singer for the evening.

The first people to sign up teams during the party earned a chance to win a kayak trip for two and there also was a raffle during the evening which offered prizes including gift baskets, vegetable steamers, cheese prep equipment, American Cancer Society caps, drink coolers and other items, framed art and more. 

Shortly after the arrival of the guests, Black introduced the first of the evening’s speakers, Chaz Martinez of Talas Harbor, who gave one of the most inspiring testimonials ever when he spoke of his own experience as a cancer survivor. 

Martinez explained that some time back just, as he was about to accept a new dream job that would allow him to buy a house he wanted here in Bullhead City, he noticed a lump on his throat one day while shaving. He gave the issue little thought, but the lump didn’t simply go away as he had hoped. Little by little it grew, until people began to notice it, and he had no choice left but to go see a doctor. 

When he got to the hospital (after a VA referral as he is a Vietnam veteran), he was examined by a doctor at the hospital who said to him “Whatever you do, do not leave this hospital without going to the emergency room first.” 

The gravity of his situation set in and he envisioned not getting the job, or house, and merely hoping to survive what he knew at the time to be cancer. 

The diagnosing doctor said that he had such a large tumor in his throat, the doctor wasn’t sure how he could swallow. His world came crashing in on him.

Martinez said that as time and treatment went on, he began to find his faith in God growing more daily and he read the Bible more than ever, finding passages that inspired his fight against the disease, such as a passage where God stopped the sun in the sky, keeping the world lit for his followers through a mountain pass where enemy soldiers waited to attack them at night, thus allowing them to pass safely through the area. 

He adopted the passage as a slogan of his faith: his God could stop the sun in the sky. He explained that following the path of positive energy (along with a very caring sister) allowed him not only to survive his battle against the disease, but to find new meaning in life all around him. 

He went on to land the job which was still waiting for him and to buy the house, thus starting a new and better chapter of his life. 

Christy Channing, president of the River Valley Devils youth football and cheerleaders, spoke about the fundraiser the Devils undertook recently. 

The group decided to do a fundraiser, collecting change to do so. In mere weeks, the Devils had collected a whopping $1,500, half of which they donated to the Relay for Life. 

The Devils were on hand at the kickoff party and received a big round of applause for their successful efforts. 

Allyson Fair, of Tri-state Pain Management Institute, reminded all at the party of the cancer survivors dinner at 6:30 p.m. March 13 at the fieldhouse banquet room, prepared by Chef Alex Mayo. 

It is for adults and by invitation only with limited seating and allows for one guest to accompany the survivor. Dr. Benjamin Venger will be the guest speaker.

Black took a break from the Class Act Band to return to emcee status to answer questions the guests had before the evening transitioned to the ticket and 50/50 raffles, closing out the evening’s party. 

The 2020 Colorado River Relay for Life will start at 6 p.m. March 13 and continue through 9 a.m. on March 14 at the fieldhouse. 

All funds raised go to the American Cancer Society to aid in their quest to eradicate this disease. There is no charge to participate. The relay is open to the public and all ages are welcome.

For more information on the Relay schedule, sign-up, and pre-relay dinner, call 202-805-5417, 928-201-2327, or 928-542-6338. 

Participating in the Relay For Life not only honors you, it shows the community that the number of cancer survivors grows each year.

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