Relay participants want to put ACS out of business

MARYSVILLE – Cancer survivor Debbie Bowers said it best.

“I want to put the American Cancer Society out of business,” she said at last weekend’s North Snohomish County Relay for Life at Asbery Field.

Turnout was light, but participants still brought in $92,000.

“Holy Moly,” said Katie Tormohlen, ACS community development manager, adding just a few weeks ago there was just $42,000. “We had great community support and tons of sponsors,” she said, adding she’s been with Relay for 10 years and both of her parents had cancer.

Teams led by Linda Clark and Cassie Golden both raised more than $17,000. For the 15th year, Pam Thomas put on a separate golf tourney for friends and family and raised $15,000.

Bowers, Clark and Golden all are on the local committee that helped put on the event. To join email

Golden, who has been involved with Relay for Life for 10 years, said when her sister was diagnosed with cancer she “needed to find something positive to do.

“The list goes on and on” of people with cancer, she said, adding, “We need to keep going to kick it to the curb.”

Clark, with 12 years of Relay experience, said she “personally wants to make a difference.”

Aaliyah Blackford had cancer when she was 12 and has been in Relay for five years. She ran an Olympics-style event at the Relay.

Renee James said she has been on Team Soroptimist for 10 years, and they lost a member this year to cancer.

Lindsie Watt, who works for the American Cancer Society and is in her third year with Relay, said her goal is to “put myself out of a job.”

Katie Thompson, this year’s director, said she lost her mom to cancer, and she choked up when she said she didn’t want “her daughter to have to lose me.”

She invited attendees to join the committee and “share our passion. We’re a community of warriors ready to fund the next great research.”

Relatives of Thompsons came all the way from Moses Lake and Oregon City to participate. Their brother wore an apron that said, “Thompson family reunion.”

After the committee shared their thoughts, cancer survivors put ribbons on the Wall of Hope and then the 18-hour event started. The event featured a campout, all kinds of games and entertainment, food, a beer garden and a silent auction, which included tickets to a Seahawks game and an outdoor wooden furniture set, along with a grill and many other items.

Themed laps included pirate, superhero, nerd, cartoon, Power of Purple and Seattle sports. Games included a watermelon eating contest, Hungry Hippos, three-legged race and scoop it up.

Other activities included pony farm, yoga, dance, blindfold game, star gazing and more. Movies in the middle of the night were: “Big Hero 6” and “Tarzan.”

The bands Gutter Splash and the Vandall’s also performed, along with “The Lady Hypnotist.”

“Let’s celebrate life and the battles we’ve overcome,” Thompson said as folks started walking the track.

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