Community

Relay for Life involvement grows

Valley cancer survivors involved in the upcoming eighth annual Snoqualmie Valley Relay For Life include, from left, top row, Dave Sharpy of North Bend, Mary Ann Rohrbach of Fall City, bottom row, Robin Sims-Brown, Shirley Sims and Teresa Warren, all of North Bend. - Seth Truscott  / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Valley cancer survivors involved in the upcoming eighth annual Snoqualmie Valley Relay For Life include, from left, top row, Dave Sharpy of North Bend, Mary Ann Rohrbach of Fall City, bottom row, Robin Sims-Brown, Shirley Sims and Teresa Warren, all of North Bend.
— image credit: Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Interest and involvement in the Snoqualmie Valley’s biggest fundraising event, the Relay for Life, is growing.

Thirty-four teams, nine more than last year, are signed up to take part in the Relay, a two-day walk, party and survivor event that raises funds to help the American Cancer Society.

Relay begins at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 11, at Centennial Fields, 39903 S.E. Park St., in Snoqualmie, and goes until 8 a.m. Sunday, July 12.

For Relay’s eighth year, 313 people had signed up as of this week, and had raised more than $61,000 for cancer research, support programs and a cure.

Emotional moments during Relay include the opening Survivor Lap, honoring those who have survived cancer, as well as the dusk luminaria lighting ceremony that remembers those who have died from cancer.

Robin Sims-Brown, of North Bend, a six year breast cancer survivor, takes part with her mother Shirley Sims.

“It’s inspiring how people rally together and try to help each other,” Sims-Brown said. “People who don’t even have cancer are into it.”

Breast cancer survivor Teresa Warren said that, before she moved to the Valley, she always tried to be involved in Relay.

“I always had something come up,” she said. “The one in Snoqualmie was the first where I stayed all night, walked, and did the whole thing.”

At the survivor walk, “I was probably the newest member of the club. It was pretty emotional, because you get to see the survivors who have been around for years. It makes you feel better, and gives you a lot of hope.

“I stumbled on Relay,” said Valley resident Dave Sharpy, who is a survivor of cancer in his jaw. “I saw an ad in the paper for a silent action.”

“I just came and saw what was going on, and thought, that’s a way for me to get involved, to give something back,” he said. “It’s a way to get involved in something that is local, that allows me to thank... nobody in particular.”

“What Relay does is fund health care — advances in diagnosis, surgical and treatment, so there are more survivors,” Sharpy said. “To me, thats the big kick of Relay for Life. We’re creating more survivors.”

When Mary Ann Rohrbach of Fall City first learned about Relay, she thought about her family.

“The first year, I decided I would do it because I was a cancer survivor. My mom had it, my dad had it, my brothers had it. Everybody had it, so why not?”

Rohrbach planned to take part in the Relay with her sister, also a cancer survivor. But a week before the event, her sister died.

“So that Relay was huge for me,” Rohrbach said. “My sister walked with me in spirit.”

Within a few years, she had formed a team. This year, Rohrbach helped put together and sell a Relay for Life cookbook. Books share recipes and memories of cancer survivors or loved ones who died from the disease. The cookbooks are available by calling (425) 222-5281 or e-mailing to rohrbach@nwlink.com.

• To learn more about the Snoqualmie Valley Relay for Life, or to get involved, visit www.snovalleyrelay.org.

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