Granite Falls cancer fundraiser shatters financial goal

GRANITE FALLS — As Robyn Sande geared up for the second annual Granite Falls Relay for Life, she felt confident the town’s teams would meet their fundraising goal of $22,000.

Instead, they shattered it.

The relay has netted $32,810.43 and counting; donations for this year’s event are accepted through August.

“I’m just really proud of our community,” said Sande, event chairwoman and a member of the 10-person volunteer board. “For 13 teams to raise $32,000, that’s really amazing.”

Nearly 160 people participated in the Granite Falls relay, according to the American Cancer Society. The 22-hour walk, during which teammates swap out so someone from each group is constantly on the track, took place at Hi Jewell Memorial Field from noon Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday.

This year’s theme was Rustlin’ Up a Cure. Fundraising started in April with a chili cook-off and raffle that brought in about $1,300. Local espresso stands got involved in May by collecting donations from customers.

The week before the July 19 relay, a number of Granite Falls businesses participated in the Paint the Town Purple challenge by decorating their buildings with purple ribbons, balloons and flags.

Relay for Life is a town-wide team effort, Sande said.

She got involved after her husband, Steve, was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. Steve’s diagnosis was malignant nevoid melanoma, a rare skin cancer that can be difficult to detect because it often resembles normal moles.

“He’s doing great,” Sande said. “We’re three years in, and he’s doing great.”

Finding a cure and supporting other cancer patients and their families has become extremely important to Sande.

Relay for Life events around the country raise funds for cancer treatment and research. Fundraising goals are set based on the success of previous years. Granite Falls raised about $17,000 in 2013, Sande said.

Volunteers are already planning for the town’s third relay next year. Sande plans to continue serving as event chairwoman.

“Because it was something that really meant something to me, I knew I wanted to be involved,” she said. “I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I’m totally confident that as the years go on, this event will get bigger and bigger.”

Next year’s board is looking for members and sponsors. People can attend the Rustlin’ Up a Cure wrap-up meeting Aug. 5 to learn more about getting involved. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Granite Falls Eagles Club, 402 N. Granite Ave.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

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