Last year’s Relay for Life event in Moab raised 3,000 for the American Cancer Society. [Photo courtesy of Sheila Thayn]

The fight against cancer is returning to the Old Spanish Trail Arena this weekend.

Starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 8, about 200 Moab residents will walk until midnight to raise money for cancer research. Each year, 23 nations participate in Relay for Life events, the American Cancer Society’s largest fundraiser.

Relay for Life event chair Yordy Eastwood said the relay has a three-fold mission: to celebrate cancer survivors, to remember those who have died from the disease and to “fight back” – whether that’s taking a personal step by getting an unusual mole checked out, or by raising money for a cure.

The fundraising event actually begins at 4:30 p.m. with the Taste of Moab, where attendees sample foods, potluck style, from 19 different local restaurants – all of which have donated food for the cause. Cancer survivors get to eat for free; for caregivers and children the cost is $10; and for everyone else, tickets are $10. Tables will be set up indoors and outside the arena.

“The Moab Brewery has excellent root beer they donate every year,” Eastwood said.

The “survival lap” takes place at 6:30 p.m., when cancer survivors and caregivers walk at least one lap, followed by individuals and teams who plan to walk the course repeatedly up until midnight. Participants raise money before the event by garnering sponsorships, having car washes and yard sales, among other things, Eastwood said.

Last year’s Moab relay garnered $23,000; this year Eastwood said she hopes to increase that amount to $30,000.

“We’ve already raised nearly $17,000,” as of last week, Eastwood said.

Participants will have a choice between two different laps – one that is just under a quarter-mile, and a second lap nearly a half mile long. There will also be “theme” laps such as the crazy hat lap, the limbo and a cake walk lap, Eastwood said.

A luminaria ceremony will take place at 10 p.m., where people will have an opportunity to honor loved ones who have died of cancer.

Blanding resident and general manager of KCYN FM and KCPX AM radio stations, Phil Mueller, said he has emceed the event on and off since Moab began hosting the relay about 10 years ago.

Mueller used to walk the laps all night, when Moab’s relay would for last 12 hours, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. During this year’s relay, Mueller said he plans to do two or three laps. He said he’s currently being treated for cancer and tires easily. Still, it’s important to him to volunteer for the relay.

“The money stays in Utah,” Mueller said. “Most of the money goes to the Huntsman Cancer Research Center in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah” – where Mueller is being treated.

“I strongly believe in that center – it is world-renowned,” Mueller said.

Money for the American Cancer Society will also be raised via a silent auction from 7 to 10 p.m. Featured items include a night at the Hampton Inn in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; a Lewis and Clark Whitewater river trip in Wyoming; local jeep rentals; garden art; T-shirts; books and more.

“There are $4,000 to $5,000 worth of items,” to bid on at the silent auction, Eastwood said.

Local musicians will perform during the event, from 7 p.m. to midnight, at which time there will be a closing ceremony, followed by a pizza party.

People who wish to participate can show up the day of the event, sign up online at, or call Eastwood at 970-986-9141. For more information, call 1-800-227-2345.

Annual Relay for Life raises money for cancer research

What: Relay for Life and Taste of Moab

When: Relay: Saturday, Aug. 8, 6 p.m. – midnight; Taste of Moab: 4:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Old Spanish Trail Arena, 3641 S. Hwy 191

Cost for Taste of Moab: $10; $5 for caregivers and children; Free for cancer survivors

Information: 970-986-9141,

The money stays in Utah … Most of the money goes to the Huntsman Cancer Research Center in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah.