MARYSVILLE — The Marysville-Tulalip Relay For Life will conduct its official kickoff rally on Saturday, Jan. 19, between 1-4 p.m. at the Marysville Boys & Girls Club at 1010 Beach Ave., and for participants such as Kristin Banfield and Kayla Dowd, the annual event is personal.
Banfield is serving as the event chair for the 2013 Marysville-Tulalip Relay For Life on behalf of the American Cancer Society, while Dowd is a student at Marysville Getchell High School’s International School of Communications who’s stepped up as this year’s public relations chair for the Marysville-Tulalip Relay.
Both women want to see lots of volunteers gathering at the Boys & Girls Club to raise funds and register teams for the Relay itself, which will run overnight June 29-30 at Asbery Field, located at 1605 Seventh St.
Banfield was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, and while she’s since made a recovery, Dowd’s grandparents have not been so lucky. While Dowd’s grandfather beat the stage-four lung cancer that he was diagnosed with two years ago, his family found out just a few weeks ago that he now has brain cancer. Dowd’s great-grandmother passed away from cervical cancer a few years ago.
“I have learned so much about cancer, about how many people are affected in one way or another, and how chemotherapy and radiation works,” Dowd said. “It’s a chain reaction of how many people are really hurting or sad, but stay strong when someone you love has cancer. A big thing I have learned from survivors is to keep laughing and smiling, or making them laugh, even when the hope isn’t high.”
“Since my first Relay four years ago, my perspective on Relay has changed,” Banfield said. “I am a direct beneficiary of the money raised by Relays all around the world. The treatment I received for breast cancer was developed from research funded by the American Cancer Society, but the money we raise for Relay doesn’t just go to find a cure for cancer. Relay is my way to help fund the local American Cancer Society services that I used just a couple years ago. The services I received from our local ACS staff — the information on the website, the person on the other end of the phone — were essential to my recovery and positive outlook. I want to be sure these same services are available to others in the future.”
Banfield noted that this year’s Relay is returning to Asbery Field due to feedback from its participants, and its date has been shifted to avoid conflicts with high school graduation ceremonies and the Marysville Strawberry Festival.
“This move provides us with the ability to broaden our fundraising opportunities during the main event,” Banfield said. “We hope the community will come out on June 29 and 30 to honor our survivors, celebrate those we’ve lost and fight back against this terrible disease. Our theme this year is ‘Dream Big, Relay Bigger,’ and we’re focused on making the 2013 Relay the biggest Relay event that Marysville-Tulalip has ever seen.”
“All this money that’s raised to make a difference is a chance to keep a mother, father, grandparent, sister, brother and friend,” Dowd said. “This is a remarkable thing to give back to.”
To join the Marysville-Tulalip Relay For Life, call 425-404-2194 or log onto http://relayforlife.org/marysvillewa.