Community

Relay for Life fundraiser in June

Brittany Moore, left, and her boyfriend, Spencer Boyle walk at the Relay for Life event last year. File Photo - File Photo
Brittany Moore, left, and her boyfriend, Spencer Boyle walk at the Relay for Life event last year. File Photo
— image credit: File Photo

There are 90 days and counting until the local Relay For Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society June 26-27 at Tahoma Junior High.

Now in its ninth year, the event for Covington, Black Diamond and Maple Valley has grown over the years but organizers are worried they may not reach their goals of 26 teams and raising $67,000 this year.

Michelle Donaldson, a nurse at MultiCare who serves on the organizing committee, said in an e-mail that the state of the world today could hamper the event this year.

“With the economy the way it is we are losing volunteers and money like crazy,” Donaldson said. “Last year we had 22 teams and this year we are down to nine teams. I have no estimate yet about how much money we think that we will be able to raise this year but I assure you with only one-third of the teams it will be considerably less.”

Janet Griffith, co-chair of the organizing committee, said that there are at least four more teams that have come on board but two haven’t signed up online yet.

One of the new teams this year was formed by employees at the Covington Walmart.

“We’re really thrilled because we’ve been trying to get Walmart for years,” Griffith said. “We went there to an employee meeting and they were really excited (to have a team).”

Griffith said it would be ideal if teams formed and signed up no later than April 15 so the committee can get t-shirts ordered. Ideally a team would have eight to 10 members.

Registration is going to be different this year, too, so it’s easier for people to sign up.

“In the past we did a $100 registration fee to cover the costs of t-shirts and so on,” Griffith said. “This year we made it $10 per person.”

There are also many ways to for teams to raise money, she said, ranging from a simple e-mail request to putting out containers labeled “Quarters for Cancer” to the more involved events that Griffith’s team has coming up in a few weeks.

“My team, Pinheads for Life, is running a fundraiser Saturday, April 18 at Kent Bowl, $25 a head if they pre-register with me,” she said. “Anybody can come and play. That’s our big fundraiser.”

Another returning team, the Wilderness Weekend Womens Golf Club, will host a golf tournament at 1 p.m. on May 2 at Lake Wilderness Golf Club.

The trick now is getting teams signed up soon so they have plenty of time to raise money.

“You do a show of hands, how many people in the room have been touched by cancer,” Griffith said of how she persuades people to participate.

“How many of you know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. You get them to realize that we’re all here on the planet to help each other in that respect.”

For Griffith the relay is very personal. She is a three-time survivor of cancer, lost her step-father to cancer, and two years ago took care of a good friend while she was going through treatment.

And money raised by the American Cancer Society helped pay for the development of the test that diagnosed her first bout with cancer.

She also knows that once a team becomes involved with the relay the transformative power of the experience makes all the difference.

“New teams don’t ever know what to expect,” Griffith said. “Tammy Lester, captain for the FFACT team, said the difference between last year and this year was huge. They were asking her, ‘When can we start getting ready?’”

Break out box

For information about the Covington/Maple Valley/Black Diamond Relay For Life, log on to www.triorelay.org. Sign up your team, volunteer, or learn more about the event.

Opening ceremony for the Relay is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, June 26, while the luminaria ceremony to celebrate survivors while remembering those who have lost the battle will be at 10 on Friday night.

For general information about Relay For Life, log on to www.relayforlife.org.

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