First Lap
Luminaries with messages and names during the Relay for Life. Photo from Mary Nehring.

This Saturday is World Cancer Day, a day that recognizes the impacts cancer has on people in every community. 

In Red Wing, Mary Nehring, a volunteer for the Relay for Life in Red Wing, is hosting a first lap to kickoff the 2023 Relay for Life season. 

“I’m going to be at the Central Park bandshell at 10 a.m. to take my first lap on Saturday morning, if anybody wants to join me that would be great,” Nehring said. 

Her hope is to get people to join in on a first lap to bring some awareness to the cause and get people thinking about fundraising. 

“The American Cancer Society, they had their official first lap on Jan. 7, and I missed that, and I was just thinking of different ways to get more participation for our Relay for Life event and getting it going earlier,” she said. 

The event usually takes place in late August, but Nehring recognizes the importance of fundraising for the event as soon as possible. 

“I just wanted to get this in people’s minds early that they should register for the event and start their fundraising, because we are raising funds to help cancer survivors,” she said. 

When thinking of ways to boost participation and awareness for the event, she thought a first lap would be a great way to get outside and bring people together.

“I thought, ‘Well I can do this.’ I’m retired and so we are going to give this a try,” she said. 

She is encouraging people who can’t make it to the bandshell to participate in their own way virtually and take a photo of their “first lap” to share when they register for the summer event. 

“I’ll be there at 10 to take my first lap and if anyone wants to do it virtually anywhere that it works for them that is great too. Whether it be indoor at a mall or outdoors or anywhere,” she said. 

After completing a first lap people can go to to register for the summer event. 

“I’m encouraging people to share photos of their first lap to the website when they register,” Nehring said. “Get your tennis shoes on and get started, we are going to support cancer survivors any way that we can and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone this summer for the Red Wing event.”

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