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Hundreds of locals support ‘hope’

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by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette

Dozens of walkers — many of them cancer survivors — participated Friday and Saturday in Relay for Life, the annual Sequim event that raises money for cancer research and for the support of cancer patients.

 

Tracy Radford, community relationships manager for the American Cancer Society, said the event raised $22,500, which she said was an increase of “about $7,000” from the 2010 event. Radford also said the number of participating teams had “almost doubled.”

 

Event Chairman Susie VanAusdle said the new teams, including Office Depot and PUD, brought energy and money-raising prowess to the event.

A day in the life

Fundraising is just one portion of the event, which ran for 21 hours straight, beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12 and ending at noon Saturday. The overnight schedule is intended to remind participants that “cancer never sleeps,” VanAusdle said.

 

The Relay officially kicked off with a “Survivors Lap,” which organizers call “an inspirational time when survivors are invited to circle the track together and help everyone celebrate the victories we’ve achieved over cancer.”

 

At 10 p.m. hundreds of luminaria were lit to recall those touched by cancer. This year participants also released “wish lanterns,” small hot-air balloons fueled by fire that floated glowing into the night sky.

The event also provides an opportunity for cancer’s many victims to gather.

 

Lori Schneider, whose husband Kurt died just two months ago, was on hand to “walk in his memory.” She participated with several Sequim Realtors, saying “These people were my husband’s friends and his professional associates.”

 

Those who weren’t able to participate in the event have one more opportunity: This Saturday the American Cancer Society will host a final Relay for Life event, this one in Pioneer Memorial Park on Washington Street.

 

The event, which will run from 4-11 p.m., will include an opportunity for fun dining with “build your own” tacos and nachos. There also will be a silent auction.

 

Mary Ruby, who is organizing the event, said there also will be an opportunity to sing karaoke.

For more information, call Ruby at 681-8445.

 

Reach Mark Couhig at mcouhig@sequimgazette.com.

 

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