Annual Relay For Life events begins Friday at SKHS

Relay For Life  - Courtesy Image
Relay For Life
— image credit: Courtesy Image

Hundreds of people will take part in this year’s annual American Cancer Society's annual Relay For Life event on the track at Joe Knowles Field on the South Kitsap High School campus.

The 18-hour event begins at 6 p.m. Friday and runs until noon Saturday and is the organization's signature public awareness and fundraising activity.

All proceeds from the event are donated to the American Cancer Society for cancer research, caregivers, gas for driving back-and-forth for treatment, and lodging for families.

During the event, each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times.

Dave Ness, of the SK Relay for Life public relations committee, said event organizers are expecting more than 70 teams and 1,000 men, women and children walking for a cure as well as remembering those that have been lost to this disease. As of last week, 67 teams have signed up for the 18-hour relay.

Ness said this year’s goal is to raise $25,000 more than in 2012.

“We just want to get at that $200,000 level,” said Ness.

Currently, he said, about $85,000 has been raised so far, but most of it is raised during the relay.

“All the teams that have signed up have been doing fundraisers before the relay,” said Ness.

Last year, the relay raised more than $175,000.

“It’s going to be a fun time,” he added. “There’s going to be raffles, and people selling hot dogs and hamburgers. Hopefully, someone will be selling coffee at 3 a.m.”

Ness is hoping the weather cooperates this year. He said it was “windy and cold” last year.

“We can use some good weather,” he said.

Ness’ grandson Caleb, now age 2, was diagnosed with eye cancer when he was three months old. Team Caleb will also participate in this year’s relay.

“He’s cancer-free now, but he still wants to help support the research,” said Ness.

Ness said a family from Dallas, Texas, flew in last week to play for a May 26 fundraiser by Team Caleb at Tommy C’s in Port Orchard.

Relay for Life, which has grown into a global event, was started in May 1985. Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma colorectal surgeon, spent 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound to show support for his patients who battled cancer. Through the support of his friends, family and patients, he raised $27,000 that year to fight cancer.

Ness said South Kitsap organizers are competing against Gig Harbor.

“It’s a fun competition to find out who gets the most teams signed up and which community raises more money,” Ness said.

Last week, Ness said Gig Harbor had about 45 teams signed up.

“We have them on teams, but for dollars they got us,” he laughed.


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