Relay Bigger June 29 at Relay for Life | GUEST OPINION

I encourage you to join me for the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Marysville/Tulalip when we join together as a community on June 29 to celebrate survivors, remember those who are no longer with us, and raise money toward finding the cure that will end cancer in our lifetime.

This year’s Relay For Life will be noon-9 a.m. starting Saturday, June 29 at a new, more highly-visible location at Asbery Field in downtown Marysville at Sixth Street and Union Avenue. Relay For Life coordinators and volunteers are committed to making this year’s event even bigger than ever. The stakes are huge, and so is the theme: “Relay Bigger.”

Relay for Life of Marysville/Tulalip’s goal this year is to raise $200,000 and sign up 80 teams.

Relay For Life thrives on the energy of its unstoppable team of leaders and volunteers led by Event Chair Kristin Banfield and her spirited team of coordinators. With a team big in talent, they stand a great chance of meeting their goal, but they need your help.

On the staff side, Stephani Earling, Community Relationship Manager for the Great West Division of ACS, has been working non-stop while doing a fantastic job urging individuals and organizations to take that easy first step to pledge, walk or form a team (and it is easy, as you’ll read further on.)

It is challenging to describe the atmosphere at Relay unless you have experienced it firsthand. As someone who has relatives, friends and co-workers who have fought courageous personal battles against cancer, Relay For Life is both a somber and life-affirming event. There are as many tears shed as there is laughter shared; but most all, there is a sense of hope and celebration of life that you can’t miss.

From the crowds of smiling people wearing their purple shirts with pride as they round 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 is an indescribable spirit that gave the event an added sense of purpose.

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.

While it may sound like hours of walking or jogging a track for hours is exhausting, it doesn’t come close to the mental and physical drain that I can only imagine a cancer survivor has to face every day.

When not walking, participating teams and individuals camp out around the inside of the track, and when they aren’t taking their turn walking, there are plenty of  fun activities with family, neighbors, and co-workers, including theme walks and live music.

Join or Form a Team

At the city of Marysville, we walk the talk. Our employee team, the City Slickers, captained by staffers Doug Buell and Roberta Schneider, is a regular participant when it’s time to lace up the walking shoes for Relay.

While Relay For Life is less than 60 days away, you still have time to join the 40 teams and nearly 300 participants by forming your own team a team, donating or volunteering to help with the event.

Joining Relay team is easy, whether you simply want to donate, walk the track, or both:

n Go online to www.relayforlife.org/marysvillewa.

n Click the “Sign Up” or “Donate” button.

n Choose the option you want on the Event Registration page, and you’re off to the races.

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 invite you to come to downtown Marysville May 17-19 for “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 include Bark For Life at Asbery Field on Saturday, May 18 from 9 a.m.-noon. It’s $20 per dog; bring dry or canned pet food to donate to the Marysville Community Food Bank. See the Relay For Life website for more details.

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.

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. In 2012, 35,670 people in Washington state were diagnosed with cancer, and 12,170 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.

Dream Big.

Hope Big.

Relay Bigger.

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


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