PAOLA — Some walked for their mother, some for a child, others a friend.

Everyone walked for someone during the annual Miami County Relay for Life at the Paola Pathways trail at Lake Miola on Saturday, Sept. 11.

Courtney Earring of Paola stopped several times along the trail, taking pictures of luminarias along the pathway for her loved ones.

Letters on luminarias spelled out “GRANDPA,” for her great-grandfather Lawrence Delana of Osawatomie, a cancer survivor who was out walking the pathway for the Relay for Life.

Courtney was walking for Lawrence.

She was also walking for her late great aunt Jean Kaiser of Paola and her late grandmother Sharon Luedtke of Olathe, who both passed away after their battles with cancer.

The Miami County Relay for Life, which raises money for the American Cancer Society, was held from 6 to 8 p.m.

Elaine Baysinger of Paola and Jan Jenkins of Olathe were walking alongside each other during the Relay for Life, taking time to look at all of the names those who have been impacted by cancer, from the cancer survivors to those who have passed away.

Gayle Plummer of Paola went for a walk for the Relay for Life with her mother Nina Gerken.

No one fights alone in their fight against cancer, and no one was walking alone at the Relay for Life. They were walking with someone or for someone.

Kathy Nicholson sported a dark shirt with “Hope” and “Cure” written on it in pink and “Fight” in white lettering. Nicholson was walking for her late husband, Bob.

The luminarias displayed along the trail featured names of those affected by cancer. Many were memorials to loved ones who have passed away.

One luminaria dedicated to the late Fred Miller had his name written on the bag with drawings of four doves. Miller, who fought cancer for many years, was a supporter of the Relay for Life, and walked in it as a survivor. He loved to train doves and would open Relay for Life events by releasing his doves to fly. Miller also enjoyed showing them off to children.

There were luminarias in memory of many who fought cancer, including former Osawatomie Mayor Phil Dudley. A luminaria with birds drawn on the top and trees at the bottom recognized Fontana Elementary School teachers and cancer survivors Elaine Baysinger and Kay DeMott.

The walk also featured luminarias with sayings on them:

“Seeds of faith are always within us. Sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth.”

“Cancer cannot cripple love, it cannot shatter hope, it cannot conquer the spirit.”

“Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark.”

“I’m here. That’s the miracle I’m looking for.”

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

Paola High School students involved with Panther Robotics assisted with setting up the luminarias.

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or

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