Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Lisa Sanchez
Contributing Writer 

Lake Stevens Relay for Life honoring cancer survivors


Photo Courtesy: Google Images

Many participate annual in A.C.S. Relay for Life.

The Relay For Life of Lake Stevens is an incredible and inspiring opportunity to unite as a community honoring cancer survivors, raising awareness about what can be done to reduce cancer risk, and raising money to help the American Cancer Society fight the disease.  This year, at the Lake Stevens High School stadium on May 31-June1, survivors, caregivers, and supporters are invited to join this local event.  Opening ceremony will take place on May 31 at noon, and circling the track will kick off with a lap in celebration of survivors.  The Survivor Lap will be followed by a Luau lunch, specially planned for survivors.  

Throughout the event, inspirational and exciting activities for all ages are planned to align with hourly themes.  This year’s themes have been set, and it will be fun to see how teams decorate their campsites and how Relayers dress up to show their spirit.  Some of this year’s highlights will be Duct Tape Fashion, Mr. Relay, Luminaria,  Funky Formal, Bling and Bedazzle, and Rock Around the Clock.  

Community members are encouraged to visit the event between noon on May 31st and the closing ceremony at 9AM on June 1st to participate in the activities and check out the different fundraising booths teams have to offer.  Guests who are not registered for the event by May 20th will not be allowed to stay overnight.  However, they may participate until 11PM on Saturday and return on Sunday morning if they wish.

Why I Relay – Lisa Sanchez

For as long as I can remember, my family has been impacting my life, helping me to grow as a person and become who I am today.  Many of these same family members are the reasons “Why I Relay.”  Sadness, hope and joy drive me to make a difference by supporting American Cancer Society through Relay for Life.

My dad was an amazing man.  At the age of 17, he was dealt an inexplicable hand in life, suffering from horrendous burns as a result of an explosion.  He fought through chronic pain, many hospitalizations, and missed events, but he did not let life’s obstacles keep him from living a fulfilling life. He taught me to focus on the good things and people in our lives, and not let hard times get me down.  He also lived his life caring for others as they struggled through life’s trials.  My dad demonstrated the belief that we need to practice empathy, for even if a struggle seems small to us, it may be the biggest challenge another person has ever experienced.

In June of 2004, he called to tell me he was diagnosed with cancer.  I was initially shocked, but then I thought about how my dad beat every other challenge in his life,  so why would this be any different?  He fought…and fought hard.  My mom was by his side every step of the way, just as she had been since the day she said, “I do.”  By September of that same year, he was gone.  I was at a total loss when it came to controlling my emotions and staying strong, as he would, for my own children and family.  Papa, as my kids called him, was not around to play with anymore; not an easy thing to explain to a one and a four year old.

Not only have I lost my father to cancer, but also two aunts and three uncles.  I have worked with many strong colleagues in Lake Stevens and Fife, some who battled and passed away from cancer, and others who are blessings as survivors.  Their students are better people today as a result of observing their difficulties as well as their triumphs.  When it comes to triumphs, at the core of my hope is my mother-in-law.

Following the loss of her own brother to cancer, she received the news that she too had developed this life-threatening disease.  Did she give up? No.  Were times hard? Yes.  Thanks to American Cancer Society, she was able to get help navigating a confusing system, receive financial and emotional support, and feel fabulous with a make-over and ideas for feeling pretty through the dark times.  She is a survivor.  I walk for her.  I walk for caregivers like my own mother.  I walk for others who have lost a loved one.  I walk for the students I work with each day so they will not have to experience losses like my own.  I walk so the students of Lake Stevens know that they can make a difference, one Relay at a time.

Why I Relay – Lorraine Niderost

Cancer has been a part of my life since before I was born.  My Grandma Maggie had it.  It didn’t stay away, but it lingered in the background rearing it’s ugly head.  Often.  Without cause.

I honestly don’t know of anyone who has never dealt with the “thing”.  It really is just a word, not a sentence.  Dealing with cancer, and having cancer are two different things.  I have personally never had cancer.  My life has been altered by someone with cancer.  Several someones.

My father was my best friend. 

My son is a miracle.  He is a Survivor.

Every. Single. Day.

I Relay because it’s something that I am capable of doing.  It’s part of my community.  My friends.  It’s support.  It’s hope.

Join me and join others wherever you are.

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