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‘Relay For Life’ kicks off Jan. 29

MARYSVILLE — For Marysville resident Nancy LaMont, the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life in North Snohomish County is not just a cause to support, but a benchmark of her personal struggles.

LaMont is the publicity chair for this year’s Relay For Life, which kicks off Jan. 29, at 6 p.m., at the Kellogg-Marsh Grange in Marysville, and she’s also a cancer survivor. She hopes to use both roles to help those affected by cancer overcome their obstacles.

LaMont is no stranger to surmounting adversity, since she began her career as a climber more than 10 years ago. She started with glaciers and rocks in 1998, before moving on up to ice in 2002, and in September of 2005, she took a trip to Tanzania, Africa, where she successfully scaled Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro.

LaMont also hiked, biked and lifted weights, but on May 16, 2006, her healthy, active lifestyle was faced with a serious hurdle when she was diagnosed with cancer. She spent the next two years undergoing chemo for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, during which time she also battled depression, a 70-pound weight gain, severe sleep apnea, osteoporosis and arthritis.

“I had to find a way of relating a longtime strength to my weakness,” said LaMont, who’s since gone into remission. “I recalled the times I’d climbed across crevasses, slipped into cracks and been frozen with fear. Cancer became my mountain, with low valleys of setbacks leading up to high peaks, and I kept scaling it.”

LaMont attributes her long “climb” with bringing her closer to God, and humbling her enough to allow others to care for her, since she’d previously insisted on remaining strong for everyone else in her life and refusing to let them see her weaknesses. Coping with cancer also made her more sympathetic toward those who have trouble keeping their lives together, which is why she started a home-based professional organizing business for them.

In the meantime, LaMont is inviting anyone and everyone from the local community to swing by the Jan. 29 Relay kick-off, at the corner of 67th Avenue NE and 100th Street NE. The kick-off’s tables will offer both information on the Relay and opportunities for community members to pitch in and take part.

“They’ll be answering questions about where the money donated to Relay For Life goes, including the progress it’s helped make in cancer research, and the ‘Look Good … Feel Better’ programs it’s supported,” LaMont said. “And if individuals, businesses or other organizations want to start, sponsor or join Relay For Life teams, they’ll be able to do that at the kick-off, too.

“Without the community’s support, there would be no Relay For Life,” she added. “We literally could not do this without you.”

For more information, e-mail Relay For Life Event Chair Tracy Anderson at tlynn32556@yahoo.com, or American Cancer Society Staff Partner Kelly Crawford at kelly.crawford@cancer.org. You can also call Crawford at 1-800-ACS-2345.

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