This weekend’s Brown County Relay for Life is being dedicated to the memory of a local resident who brought the American Cancer Society fund-raiser to this area.
Dorothy Owen, who died in February, is credited by organizers as being the driving force that initiated the Relay for Life in Brown County.
The event will be held from 6 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday at Gordon Wood Stadium.
“This year’s Relay is dedicated to Dorothy because Dorothy was so dedicated to Relay,” said Alice Salazar, Relay for Life chair.
Owen’s caregiver and friend, Lainey Hall, said that one thing that struck her about Dorothy was that she was such a fighter.
“Until her very last breath she had hope,” said Hall. “She was more concerned about how her family and friends would do without her. She loved gardening and children and had a real zest for life. I miss her.”
Relay for Life is the largest fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society each year. Last year, the Brown County event brought in more than $70,000.
Relay for Life officials said Owen began her battle with breast cancer in 1979. After a modified radical mastectomy and multiple reconstructive plastic surgeries she was cancer-free until 1994 when they found that it had metastasized to the bone.
She underwent radiation therapy in Brownwood, then was sent to Scott & White Hospital in Temple for chemotherapy. There she also underwent an experimental stem cell program. While at Scott & White she participated in the Relay for Life and decided that there should be one in Brownwood.
In August 1996 with the help of the National Guard, KOXE, several restaurants and local volunteers, the first Brown County Relay for Life was held at Gordon Wood Stadium.
“Someone brought out a flatbed trailer that we could announce off of,” said Bill Owen, Dorothy’s husband. “Someone else brought out a camper for Dorothy to rest in since she was still weak from treatments. Over $18,000 was raised that first year. It‘s a lot different now. Dorothy would be so excited to see how big the committee is and all of the organization.”