Walking for a cure
June 8, 2010
By Chantelle Lusebrink
Relay for Life tops $225,000 goal
This year, 813 people ran, walked and wheeled in support of finding a cure for cancer at the annual Issaquah Relay for Life June 5 and 6.
“It is unfortunate cancer affects so many people,” said David Conley, a volunteer and logistics coordinator for the event. “But I look at this as a way we, as a community, can fight back.
“It is so easy to get locked in your own world, but this is a chance to get outside yourself and do something for somebody else,” he said. “It just makes you feel good.”
The event boasted 83 teams that walked around the clock June 5 and 6 to remember those who have died from the disease and to raise money to find a cure for those diagnosed.
One of those teams included Redmond resident Brett Scott, 31, who walked with his wife and two children during the survivors’ walk.
Scott was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer about a year and a half ago. Essentially, he has testicular cancer, but the cancer is growing in his lungs instead. Of 10,000 people diagnosed, he said, 10 people will have his type, called mixed germ cell cancer.
“Today is a good day,” he said. Today, “means hope, hope that in spite of what reality stands in the way, I will beat this.”
“I should be in my wheelchair, but I have this extraordinary sense of adrenaline and I’m saying I’m not going to let cancer get in the way right now.”
Through it all, he said it is his family, his faith in God and the prayers of his fellow congregation at Eastridge Christian Assembly in Issaquah, who have helped him fight.
Out on the field were high school students walking for a teacher and a team of adults walking for a co-worker. The stories they told showed just how pervasive cancer is.
“The one thing I think that is really neat about this is you meet other people and hear their stories,” said Stacy Strickland, a co-organizer for the event, whose father died of cancer in 1992 when she was 17. “The relay, through the American Cancer Society, touches all types of cancer and all types of people. The people that I’ve lost haven’t been from one type, but they have been varied.”
Because the event doesn’t focus on one type, Strickland said, she feels like she’s helping remember everyone she’s lost and fighting for every patient battling the disease.
Aside from walking or running, there were plenty of other fun activities for participants to do.
Endeavour Elementary School students and parents, who formed the team the Endeavour Nack Pack, crowded into the cutting booth to watch stylist Melissa Walker cut three of their teammates’ hair during a hair cutathon.
“My mom had cancer and I know a lot of people who have had cancer,” said Emily Kargl, 11, who sat in a chair waiting for the scissors to cut through her thick hair.
She said she likes to donate her hair in honor of her mother, Lori Kargl, who had melanoma in 1993, but survived.
As she sat in the chair, Lori Kargl snapped photos of her daughter donating.
When Walker was done cutting the hair of Emily, Becca Davies, 14, and Lauren Lo, 11, the girls had contributed about 30 inches for wigs to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths organization.
“It will go to a good cause and my hair was getting kind of long, so I thought it was a good reason,” Becca said.
In all, 12 people donated hair.
Down the football field from there, Liberty High School seniors and freshmen from Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus duked it out in the many relay races the event held to keep everyone entertained.
“A group of kids’ parents are effected by cancer,” said Mark Loreen, 17, “so we’re all trying to show support for them.”
“I think it’s a really good cause,” freshman Eric Wang said. “We figure if we can do it, we’ll encourage our friends to do it, too.”
There was also a silent auction with sports memorabilia, school spirit gear and a lot of locally made crafts and gift certificates for restaurants.
So far, the event has raised $230,000, Strickland said.
According to organizer Karen Conley, the top five fundraisers now are Team Aloha, $50,675; the city of Issaquah and Eastside Fire & Rescue, $8,780; The Biracial Maple Leaves, from Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus, $7,750; the Endeavour Nack Pack, $6,318; and Hank’s High Flyers, $5,808.
Brent Johnson, from the Group Health Research Institute, was given an award for raising the most individual donations at the event, the Endeavour Nack Pack won the event’s spirit award and the Providence Marianwood team received a Platinum award for their fundraising efforts. That award goes to teams who have the highest fundraising average per member.
Fundraising doesn’t close until August, Strickland said, so there is still plenty of time for people who haven’t yet made a donation to do so.
Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or email@example.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.