“Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back” was shouted consistently throughout Sunday’s Relay for Life Lake Stevens first annual kick-off event held at the Lake Stevens Fire District’s Administration building.
Almost 100 people showed up to learn why Lake Stevens has chosen to hold their own Relay for Life event which raises money to help the American Cancer Society find a cure for a disease that affects millions of families each year.
Lynn White, one of the organizers of the Lake Stevens Relay shared how she has been touched by cancer, not only fighting the disease herself but also family members who have battled different types of cancer throughout her life.
“There have been too many people in my life affected by cancer,” she said. “Not only am I a survivor of life but I am a survivor of cancer. I Relay to find a cure.”
Lake Stevens Mayor Vern Little is a strong advocate and “cheerleader” for the newly formed event in Lake Stevens. Little has participated in Relay for Life for the past two decades and is looking forward to being part of the Lake Stevens event in May.
“I started Relay 20 years ago, I know many who have suffered from cancer and if there is any community that will come together to do something it’s the Lake Stevens community,” Little said.
Little also challenged those in attendance, and the community as a whole, to beat Arlington, who held their fist Relay for Life event last year.
“I challenge us to beat Arlington who raised over $232,000,” he said.
The most touching story came from 17-year-old Katie Jacobs who is the Youth Committee chair for Lake Stevens Relay.
Jacobs Relays for her dad who lost his long battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on June 5, 2009.
“My Relay story is not my story,” she said. “It’s my dad’s. I’ve never seen someone who fought as hard as he did.”
Jacobs has walked in the Relay event for the last seven years raising over $20,000 in the last four years alone. She is hoping to recruit many teenagers to help raise money and to participate in the event at Lake Stevens High School.
Relay for Life began 20 years ago when one man ran a track for 24 hours to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Now over three million people participate annually in Relay for Life nation-wide and around the world.
Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraising activity. Relay teams will camp out at Lake Stevens High School from 10 a.m. Saturday, May 14 until Sunday at 10 a.m. on May 15 and take turns walking around the track for 24-hours. Teams will have at least one person walking every minute of the 24-hour period.
Games, food, entertainment and a lot of celebration will take place during the Relay for Life. Survivors are celebrated and those lost to cancer will be remembered as luminaries are placed around the track in the evening and lit with candles for all to see.
Relay Lake Stevens is still looking for teams and sponsors to support this event. If you would like to know more please visit www.relayforlife.org/lakestevenswa
or check them out on facebook at Relay for Life of Lake Stevens WA.