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Local Relay for Life raises $83,000 for American Cancer Society
POULSBO – It was 8 p.m. June 22 and the rain continued to fall, but Zumba leader Carlita Alegria’s energy was reminiscent of high noon on a sunny day. And so the people on the field Zumba’d on.
“It was so much fun,” she said.
All night, runners from Kingston High School continued their endless relay around the track. In booths ringing the field, volunteers visited with each other, shared tributes and cheered on walkers and runners. Because of the rain, ink ran on some of the luminarias placed around the field, but when the sun rose the next morning the messages were as clear and poignant as the commitment of the people gathered here.
“This brings a big awareness to the fight against cancer,” said Julie Cottle of Pacific Northwest Title. “Cancer affects us all. Relay for Life helps our friends and neighbors.”
Then, at the close of the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society June 23, DJ Gil Camacho of Port Orchard announced that the Poulsbo-Bainbridge Island Relay for Life raised $83,000 — $21,000 more than in 2011.
“We had 100 percent more participation than last year,” said event chairman Adrian Alegria of Kingston, a Navy chief operations specialist. “Our local businesses in the area and our volunteers are really stepping up.”
Relay for Life is a major fundraiser for the American Cancer Society; relays take place in summer in communities throughout the United States.
Relay for Life is an overnight relay-style event. Teams of people raise money for Relay in the months preceding the event, then camp at the event and take turns walking around the track for the duration of the event. Food, games and activities continue during the event. The event celebrates survivors and honors friends, co-workers and loved ones who have died.
Highlights of the event include a survivors lap, luminaria ceremony, and the Fight Back Ceremony, in which people make a personal commitment to save lives by taking up the fight against cancer.
Other events included a Mr. Relay contest, midnight pizza, and a frozen T-shirt contest. Breakfast was hosted by Harrison Medical Center.
Lucas Thompson, an incoming senior at Kingston High School, and other KHS track team members ran in half-hour shifts around the track. He estimated that he ran 15-20 times around the track.
“I got involved because throughout the year more people I know have had cancer,” he said.
Mindy Teigen and Wings of Hope, Pacific Northwest Title’s Relay for Life team, raised close to $6,100. This was the team’s first year.
“It makes a huge difference,” she said of being involved. “It’s amazing how many people don’t know what Relay for Life is. This one is great. It raises money for research and we become a huge family.”
While the area Relay for Life is over, the event is accepting donations until Aug. 31. Visit www.relayforlifeofnorthkitsap.org for information.