Boone County’s Relay for Life event wrapped up on Saturday at Hickman High School, as participants recorded their laps around the Hickman track in the annual fundraising effort for cancer research and awareness. This year, the Boone County event was preceded by the Power in Purple campaign, with business leaders raising the awareness call by wearing purple and starting conversations. We talked with some of the participants to get their reflections on the campaign and the Relay for Life event.

Dr. Sarah Vordtriede-Patton sporting the purple in her office at Columbia College.

  • Dr. Sarah Vordtriede-Patton, dean of Columbia College’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, lost her husband, Paul to esophageal cancer. She participated in the Power in Purple campaign to connect with people about an issue that’s impacted her family. “I hope to promote prevention, healthy habits, and early detection, to walk in solidarity with survivors and everyone who is or has been a caregiver, memorialize those no longer with us, and support the efforts of the American Cancer society as a resource for individuals, families, and researchers in fighting cancer,” she says.



  • Kyle Fansler, deputy fire chief for the City of Columbia, rocked purple shoe laces for the Power in Purple campaign. He’s seen many friends and co-workers battle the disease, and he knows it can affect anyone at any time. “I would like others to take time to the time to realize that cancer isn’t something that only happens to others,” he says. “I hope that this campaign will show that cancer is bad, but there are people — lots of people — working toward a cure of the various forms of cancer.”



  • Being a practice manager at the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, TJ Sweet sees the disease up-close every day. He bought a pair of conversation-starting purple pants for the campaign, and he recruited family and friends to wear purple too. “Each one of us can make a significant difference,” he says. “The impact of all of us is bigger than any one of us alone.”  


Jim Meyer, of MeyerWorks LLC, kept a purple pin with him while on duty in Camp Ripley, Minnesota with the Missouri Army National Guard.

  • Jim Meyer, managing broker for MeyerWorks LLC and president of the Columbia Board of Realtors, had to be away on military duty during the week when his wife was battling cancer. The support of friends, family, and doctors helped him then, and he sees the American Cancer Society’s work as a continuation of that help. Even though he was away on duty with the Missouri National Guard during Power in Purple week, he participated with a purple pin.



The Boone County Relay for Life raised more than $88,000 for cancer research in 2017. Thanks to all who participated this year, and be sure to help beat that number next year!

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