What is a Relayer? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary doesn’t even have that word in its pages but for the over 840 people who registered to walk the track at Lake Stevens High School last weekend, a Relayer is a person who brings hope to the millions of people diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States.
A Relayer fundraises all year long to earn money to help fight cancer through cancer research. A Relayer celebrates those who have had and those who are fighting this deadly beast and a Relayer remembers those who have lost their battle.
For the hundreds of Relayers in Lake Stevens, their passion has brought in over $125,000 to the American Cancer Society. This is money that will stay right here in Snohomish County to create more birthdays for our friends, neighbors and family members.
There are many stories of why people choose to Relay and most of them are personal and those 24 hours help people heal and make a difference in the life of a cancer patient.
“Twenty-four hours of Relay is a true snapshot into the life of a cancer patient. It runs the whole spectrum of emotions, it runs the spectrum of fatigue... you must keep going you must move forward, you must do it! You have no choice, through good (thankfully) and bad weather, sunshine and cold, early in the morning or late at night, each step brings us closer to a cure,” explains Kim Demary, Relay for Life of Lake Stevens 2012 Chair.
Those living in Lake Stevens have embraced this event and this fight for a second year in a row, which makes a huge difference to the outcome of the event.
“When the city gets behind something, it shows it is a cause worth supporting. If we didn’t have their support it would be very hard to have a successful event,” Demary said. “Having the mayor proclaim May 19 Relay for Life Day and having the city administrator there early Sunday morning asking for scissors so she could help take down banners and pick up trash, speaks volumes.”
Relay for Life brought together a diverse group of people throughout the community —young and old, rich and poor, those who are fighting to keep cancer away and those who are survivors of the disease.
An 18-month-old walked the track several times pushing her wagon or holding on to her mother’s hand, but she walked.
One woman, Jen Hardy of Team Got Hope?, walked the entire 24-hours reaching her goal of 60 miles. She finished her last lap during closing ceremonies and over 21 people raised over $1,000 to help stop cancer.
Almost 100 survivors were honored after they walked the first lap of Relay with a t-shirt, a medal, a delicious meal, a hat, flowers and a gift bag.
“More than anything we have given them a place where they are understood and a place to heal. Hugs and tears are in abundance and always free,” Demary said.
Most of all Lake Stevens has shown that they are a team of fighters and of believers that there will be an end to cancer and that they will be part of that end.
“I am so proud of this town! They have embraced this cause, made it their own and said to our friends and neighbors we are here for you and are fighting back in support of you,” Demary said. “Almost $22,000 was raised in the 24 hours we spent at the high school —$800 of it from silly boys dressing as girls! We do silly, crazy things to raise money and awareness, for every crazy idea, more money for a cure comes in! We are not done raising funds yet! We are still about $50,000 from our goal!”
If you would like to help reach that goal you can still donate at relayforlife.org/lakestevenswa or stop by any local fundraisers that will continue throughout the year.
Find more pictures online at www.lakestevensjournal.com.