By Adam Jerome, I-O Reporter
Cook participates in Relay for Life
RELAY FOR LIFE — Ruth Cook helps Chelsey Anderson fill out a Luminaria bag for Cook’s upcoming Relay for Life event in Hamilton. Cook has raised over $700 so far. The event will take place on June 27. I-O Photo by Barb Endler
   Over the past few months local woman, Ruth Cook has been raising money for the Relay for Life in Hamilton.  The event is scheduled for June 27 and is a great way to raise money for cancer.  
   Cook knows firsthand the importance of charities like this one, as she herself is a cancer survivor for eight and a half years now.
   One of the great things about Relay for Life is that all of the money raised will stay in the state of Montana.  As she puts it, “What I really like about Relay for Life is that the money is used for the nuts and bolts of cancer treatment.  The money helps out with medications and travel expenses for people battling cancer.”
   The Relay for Life event will take place at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds in Hamilton.  The theme for this year’s walk is “Step Up to the Plate and Fight Cancer”  
   The goal for the event is for a team comprised of anywhere from three to twenty members to continuously walk around a quarter of a mile track for 12 hours.  At any given time during the event at least one team member must be walking at all times.
   Cook is part of the New Hope team, which is comprised of her, her son Jay from Great Falls, her son and daughter-in-law, Jason and Tina of Hamilton, and four other members from Jason and Tina’s church in Hamilton.  The New Hope team is sponsored by Cook’s son Jason’s business, BYR Plumbing.
   The walk will begin at 6 p.m. on June 27 and last until 6 a.m. on June 28.  During the relay there will be various other fundraising activities in the middle of the track.  The New Hope team is putting together a dunk tank to do their part.
   The town of Hamilton has graciously provided food and refreshments for the participants.
   After the relay is over there will be a group photo of the surviving cancer patients that participated.
   Another neat part of the event is the Luminaria Ceremony.  After the sun has set on June 27 votive candles will be displayed around the track in honor of loved ones that have battled cancer.
   Cook has been selling these Luminaria bags to individuals in the Conrad area.  On the bag a person is able to write the name of a loved one living or deceased who battled cancer and decorate the bag as they see fit.  Their names will be displayed proudly as the Relay for Life participants round the track.
   So far, Cook has raised over $700 herself, with her team bringing in $1,400 to date.
   Last year Cook walked over 19 miles in the 12 hour period and hopes to do more this year.
   In preparation Cook has been walking a couple of miles each morning.
   Relay for Life is a great way for people like Cook to give back and also show that the diagnosis is just the beginning, not the end of the rest of your life.