Relay for Life event returns to Issaquah

May 28, 2013

After years away from its home base, Relay for Life will return to the high school where it began.

On June 7 and 8, the 15th annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society will bring out teams of people who have collected money from the community for an all-night endurance event. It will involve a 20-hour team walk around the school’s track, coupled with entertainment and additional events to raise money. Last year, nearly 900 people took part. Organizers are expecting even more this year.

“We’re excited to be back at Issaquah High School,” Event Chairwoman Gwen Schweitzer said. “We’ve been four years at Skyline High School and we are excited about the new gym at Issaquah.”

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Who’s News

January 29, 2013

Local Realtors earn regional leadership posts

Joan Probala

Joan Probala

Joan Probala, a managing broker at Windermere Real Estate/East in Issaquah, has been elected as the 2013 president of the Seattle King County Realtors.

Probala, a real estate professional since 1990 and resident of Issaquah, serves as vice chairwoman of the Issaquah Planning Policy Commission, chairwoman of the Issaquah Arts Commission and survivor chairwoman for Issaquah Relay for Life. In addition, she is a past president of the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club of Issaquah.

Also named to the leadership team was Mike Winkler, principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain Issaquah, as this year’s East Region director.

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Issaquah Relay for Life celebration kicks off

January 8, 2013

The 2013 Issaquah Relay for Life is not until June, but it’s never too early to start thinking about ways to raise funds for the event, Gwen Schweitzer, the event’s chairwoman, said.

The relay season officially kicks off in January with a special informational session where attendees have the opportunity to learn more about Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.

Team members and captains are encouraged to attend the hourlong kickoff event to sign up for the 2013 relay, get fundraising tips and play games.

The past two years, the kickoff celebrations were snowed out, Schweitzer said, so the games at this year’s kickoff will have a decidedly wintery flavor.

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Volunteers needed for cancer prevention study

October 23, 2012

The 2013 Issaquah Relay was selected to serve as an enrollment site for the Cancer Prevention Study 3, part of the American Cancer Society’s research efforts to better understand the link between lifestyle choices and the disease.

The position is fully supported by the relay planning committee, CPS-3 study coordinator and American Cancer Society staff partner to ensure the enrollment recruitment process runs smoothly.

Past long-term American Cancer Society follow-up studies have played a major role in cancer prevention at the American Cancer Society. Learn more at

Dogs help take a bite out of cancer at Bark for Life

June 26, 2012

Stephanie Quam’s favorite subject is Otis, her black pug and trusty companion.

Mention Otis and Quam simply gushes with pride. Her passion for the 11-year-old pug is undeniable. Quam fondly recalls the moment she knew they were meant to be together, when she met eyes with a 12-week-old Otis. Now, Quam looks for any opportunity to do fun and impactful things with her canine companion.

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Issaquah fights back against cancer at Relay for Life

June 5, 2012

Relay for Life draws 900 participants, $244,000 in donations

Relay for Life event chairwoman Gwen Schweitzer paused among the chaos that encircled her long enough to bend down and give her grandmother a kiss on the forehead.Around them, nearly 900 participants packed the track and field of Skyline High School’s football turf for this year’s Relay for Life on June 2.

After being diagnosed with brain cancer several years ago, Schweitzer’s grandmother made the trip this year across the state from Colfax to celebrate the day with her — a moment not lost amid the loud music, festive colors and vendor booths.

“She’s here,” Schweitzer said, tears brimming in her eyes. “She made the drive here. They gave her less than a year to live. She was in a hospice, and she rebounded. It was nothing short of amazing.”

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Come out for Relay for Life

May 29, 2012

The 2012 Issaquah Relay for Life takes place this weekend at Skyline High School.

The two-day event has a simple concept. Teams are formed. Each team must raise a certain amount for the American Cancer Society. And donors pledge money for every lap walked at a local track. The overnight event allows participants to honor cancer survivors and remember those lost to the disease.

With the idea that cancer never sleeps, team members will take turns walking around the track through the night at the event that starts at noon Saturday and ends with closing ceremonies at 8 a.m. Sunday.

The event features overnight camping on the track’s infield as well as games, competitions and music to keep everyone active.

The Issaquah event, held at Skyline High School the past few years due to construction at Issaquah High School, is 11th overall in the Great West Division, a 12-state region.

The highlight is the luminaria ceremony, where community members place illuminated bags, dedicated to someone touched by cancer, around the track, with relay participants walking one silent lap in their honor.

The goal is to collect $300,000 in donations for the American Cancer Society, according to Gwen Schweitzer, coordinator of this year’s event.

Local high school students rev up Relay for Life fundraisers

May 22, 2012

Relay — ‘a   way to live’

Iman Baghai Issaquah High School

The death of a loved one to cancer is why most people partake in the annual Relay for Life fundraising event. But Michael Cecil, a junior at Issaquah High School, has a unique and inspiring story with regards to how and why he is a “relayer.” Cecil’s mother has been diagnosed with five rare kinds of cancer throughout his life and has survived each diagnosis.

His mother’s diagnosis inspired Michael to get into Relay as a way for him and his siblings to “do something about (their) mom’s cancer.” He didn’t view it as a way of giving back, but rather as a way of “fighting back” the terrible disease that has haunted his family.

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Issaquah Relay for Life sets record-breaking goals

May 15, 2012

Teams walk around the Skyline High School track last year, fundraising for the annual Relay for Life event. File

When you have one of the most successful programs around, that essentially leaves one goal each year: do better than the previous year.

Such is the envious dilemma facing Gwen Schweitzer in her first year as the coordinator of the Issaquah area’s Relay for Life.

At this time last year, there were 78 teams signed up. This year, there are already 81, just four away from the goal, Schweitzer said. After last year’s two-day event netted more than $285,000, that left her with the goal of reaching $300,000 in 2012.

“We are one of the only mega events to raise over $200,000. Overall, the relay has seen a drop in contributions due to the economy,” Schweitzer said. “Issaquah has been lucky. We’ve seen funding increase by a small margin every year.”

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Who’s News

February 14, 2012

Renee Chaffin serves as Senate page

Sen. Cheryl Pflug and Renee Chaffin

Renee Chaffin, a sophomore at Skyline High School in Sammamish, recently participated in the Senate Page Program during the third week of the 2012 session. Chaffin was sponsored by Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-Maple Valley).

The Senate Page Program is an opportunity for Washington students to get firsthand experience working in the Legislature. Pages get a variety of experiences in their weeklong stay in Olympia, including running errands, delivering mail and paging in the Senate Chamber. Pages are also taught about parliamentary procedure and the legislative process.

Chaffin was one of 17 students chosen to participate last week.

“Renee was a delight this week,” Pflug said. “I am grateful for her passion, and it was exciting to see her passion for government.”

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