Step up for Relay for Life

  • By Mina Williams Herald writer
  • Tuesday, May 15, 2012 8:10pm

Prom night will be different this year for some South Snohomish County high-schoolers.

They are taking some time out of the evening’s festivities to walk the “prom lap” during the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, June 9.

The event held to support those with cancer and cancer survivors will begin at noon June 9 and run through 9 a.m. June 10.

During the event individuals and teams will walk the track at Edmonds Stadium, on the campus of Edmonds-Woodway High School, for 21 consecutive hours.

“We do this because cancer never sleeps, so we don’t either,” said Kelly Crawford, community relationship manager with the American Cancer Society.

This is the 13th year of the Relay For Life of South Snohomish County. Last year more 700 people, including 67 cancer survivors, participated in the event and raised more than $120,000.

The worldwide Relay For Life is the largest fundraising event in the world, Crawford said.

More than 5,200 events in the United States and an additional 100 events in 30 other countries are slated for June 9-10. The money raised funds research, advocacy efforts and free programs and services for those with cancer.

Over the course of the event cancer survivors are acknowledged, care givers are honored and themed laps – from Hawaiian to crazy hair – are taken. During one of those themed laps, Edmonds-Woodway students will take a turn in their prom wear.

The survivor lap will be the main feature of the opening ceremonies. Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling will give an opening address.

“For me the inspiration of walking on the track at night lit by luminary bags, dedicated to family and friends, makes all the effort an honor,” said Kim Verver, event chairperson.

She started her participation in the relay because it was a good cause and it was held at Lynnwood High School, where she worked.

“Being at school, it was easy to participate in,” Verver said. “Later my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Now it’s personal.”

Verver is now in her eighth year of participating in the local relay.

The event is a major fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Teams of 15 members or less register and raise money. Registration is open up through the day of the event.

“For me this event is a way to give back and to remember,” said Dana Marsden, a team captain and a three-time survivor. Last year, her third, she walked her laps on crutches.

“It’s great to chat during a lap with fellow survivors,” said Marsden, who also works for the school district. “My team members can donate money and walk a lap with me or to honor someone they might have lost.”

There are a large number of teenagers participating this year, Crawford said. Teams from Meadowdale High School’s Key Club, Edmonds-Woodway, Lynnwood and Kamiak high schools and St. Thomas More Parish School are registered.

“These kids are becoming good citizens,” Crawford said.

Local businesses are hosting food for participants and providing teams. Fred Meyer has 70 people signed up for the relay. Best Buy and Starbucks also have several teams registered.

Teams not only ask friends and family to contribute for the cause, they host car washes and rummage sales. Participants from the Edmonds School District held a baked potato bar and raised $370. One of the teenagers from the Kamiak team has sold 400 sweatshirts, raising $2,500.

Additional activities throughout the day include music, a water balloon toss, yoga, massage and Zumba sessions. Education is another component of the event, Crawford said. There is a lot of screening information.

Get involved

WHAT: Relay For Life of South Snohomish County

WHEN: June 9-10, opening ceremonies at noon June 9

WHERE: Edmonds Stadium, Edmonds-Woodway High School, 7600 212th St. SW, Edmonds