Experience the magic at Relay for Life | GUEST OPINION

As someone who has relatives, friends and co-workers who have fought courageous personal battles against cancer, I urge you to join me in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Marysville/Tulalip as we come together as a community on June 9 to celebrate survivors, remember those who are no longer with us and raise money to find a cure.

I attended my first Relay For Life last year at the Marysville-Pilchuck High School track, where Tulalip Tribes Chairman Mel Sheldon Jr. and I helped kick off the opening ceremonies.

From the masses of smiling people wearing their purple shirts with pride as they rounded the track, to the silent procession of an evening walk brightened by the glow of luminaria, with each illuminated bag bearing the name of someone who has battled cancer, there was an indescribable spirit that gave the event an added sense of purpose.

Relay For Life is both a somber and life-affirming event that organizers are working hard to make even bigger and better this year. I hope you’ll become a part of it.

There will be tears.

There will be laughter.

Most of all, there will be hope and celebration of life.

That is the magic of Relay.

This year’s Relay For Life will be noon to 9 a.m. starting Saturday, June 9 again at the Marysville-Pilchuck High School Stadium track, 5611 108th St. NE. Relay For Life is a family-oriented event during which participants can walk or run around the track, relay-style, between noon Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday. A team representative is required to be on the track at all times because cancer never sleeps.

It may sound like walking or jogging a track for hours is exhausting, but it’s nothing compared to the mental and physical drain that I can only imagine a cancer survivor has to face. It’s encouraging to know that there’s a good chance the people in front of you are themselves cancer survivors. When not walking, participating teams and individuals camp out around the inside of the track, and when they aren’t taking their turn walking, they take part in fun activities with family, neighbors, and co-workers.

Relay for Life of Marysville/Tulalip’s goal is to raise $195,000 and sign up 100 teams. Relay For Life thrives on the energy of its unbreakable team of can-do leaders led by Mo Olason and husband, Todd, Jessica Henkel, Kristin Banfield, Erica Deschaine, Angela McCloskey, Jennifer Holocker and many others. With a team of this caliber, they stand a strong chance of meeting their goal, but they need your help.

Join or Form a Team

While Relay For Life is only a little more than three weeks away, you still have time to get involved by forming a team, donating or volunteering to help with the event.

Every dollar raised is celebrated and vital because it might be the one that brings the breakthrough in research that we are all hoping for.

  • Enjoy the fun-filled activities ahead.
  • Honor lives of those we know diagnosed with cancer who succumbed after waging a valiant battle.

Celebrate co-workers, family members and friends who emerged as inspirational survivors

The city of Marysville city government team, the City Slickers, is one of more than four dozen teams currently seeking donations. Joining our Relay team is easy, whether you simply want to donate, walk the track, or both:

  • Go online to www.relayforlife.org/marysvillewa.
  • Scroll down to “Top Teams” and click on “View all.”
  • Find the “City Slickers” Team, and click on “Join Team.”
  • Or contact Team Captain Doug Buell at 360-363-8086 or dbuell@marysvillewa.gov.

You will find several other teams on the Relay For Life website who are also recruiting members or seeking contributions — you might even find a friend or neighbor you didn’t know was active. No matter who you are, there’s a place for you at Relay. Each dollar raised will help save lives, creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

Paint the Town Purple

As part of the build up to Relay For Life, I am proclaiming May 18-20 “Relay For Life Paint the Town Purple Weekend.” Relay For Life organizers will be decking out downtown in purple décor, partnering with participating businesses, and raising contributions through a variety of activities that includes Bark For Life at Asbery Field on Saturday, May 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. See the Relay For Life website for more details.

Participate in Relay For Life this year to celebrate cancer survivorship, remember loved ones lost to the disease, honor caregivers and join Marysville and Tulalip’s fight against cancer. Last year, 35,237 people in Washington state were diagnosed with cancer, and 11,593 did not survive. This is how I choose to remember them and to acknowledge their struggles to get well, stay well, find cures and fight back.

Mayor Jon Nehring can be reached at mayor@marysvillewa.gov or 360-363-8091.


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