Purple began popping up everywhere in Lake Stevens last week, the color craze seemed to take on a life of its own. It’s meaning came together on Saturday when Relay for Life Lake Stevens held its first annual Paint the Town Purple event in North Cove Park.
With only a few weeks to go before the actual Relay for Life event, Event Chair Kim Demary and her committee wanted to keep the momentum going and help give teams an opportunity to earn some money towards their goals to help The American Cancer Society.
“The day was about raising awareness for what we will be doing at Relay and raising funds,” Demary said. “We wanted to bring the community together.”
To start the day the Lake Stevens Kiwanis held a pancake breakfast which brought in an additional $204 for their team.
After that, 20 teams hit the road in the Purple Siege Scavenger Hunt—think Amazing Race. With camera in hand teams took off with clues that led them through town with the hope of being the first team to finish and find all the clues.
At the end of the race winners of the Team Division were Collette Bogart and Jessica Kim. Austin Demary, AJ Demary, McRae Blankenship and Wyatt Blankenship took first place in the Family Division.
“I want to thank the businesses in this community (all 70) for coming together and making the town truly purple,” Demary said. “Many cancer survivors came up to me with tears in their eyes, amazed that the town was backing this. This whole thing started from a crazy idea, we hoped that some people would come on board. We never dreamed it would be like this. Michele Chedester did an awesome job writing clues for the race and organizing the battle of the bands.”
Over 20 local Relay for Life teams had booths where they sold items like Krispy Kreme doughnuts, gratitude books, baked goods including bacon and maple cupcakes, jewelry and a lot more.
The Awesome Olsens sold the gratitude journals and allowed purchasers to decorate them. Eleven year old Gracie Olsen is one of dozens of kids who are dedicated to fighting cancer.
“I wanted to have a team because I thought it would be fun. I can’t wait to stay up all night at Relay for Life,” she said.
Jennifer Fortney and her son were manning the Krispy Kreme doughnut booth. Fortney and Demary started participating in Relay for Life years ago when they were asked to be chaperones for their kids.
“My mom is a breast cancer survivor and my sister-in-law just got diagnosed,” Fortney explained. These are just two of her family members who have suffered from the disease. “Cancer is huge thing in my family. It’s a cause we can stand by.”
The day brought in close to $3,000 for Relay for Life Lake Stevens whose goal is to raise over $200,000. Now, the Relay committee will continue to encourage teams to keep fundraising and work out the logistics for the big event on May 14 and 15.
“We are 20 percent of the way to our goal of $50,000 on our way to $225,000,” Demary said. “The Entertainment committee is working hard on putting together amazing entertainment. We have several bands coming to play live, the Seattle Cossacks motorcycle stunt and drill team will be doing to awesome shows. We have lots of surprises up our sleeves -- the community doesn’t want to miss it. Even if you are not on a team you can come out and see what we are doing, enjoy the music and purchase items for sale to help us fight back.”
Having fun while raising awareness is a priority but ensuring that the number of people who are diagnosed goes down and knowing that those suffering from cancer will have a greater opportunity to live longer is what Relay for Life is all about. Demary has been making this her mission.
“One in three people will get cancer -- that is a fact. We Celebrate our Survivors,” she said. “If you have heard the words ‘You have Cancer’ you are not alone, we relay for you our survivors, we want to honor you, you are a survivor from the very minute the doctors tells you.”
“We Remember: We relay for all of those we have lost,” she adds. “We Fight Back so that future generations never have to hear ‘You have cancer.’”
Relay for Life Lake Stevens will take place at Lake Stevens High School on Saturday, May 14 at 10 a.m. to Sunday, May 15 at 10 a.m. For more information or to donate or start a team of your own you can google Relay for Life Lake Stevens.