Getting ready to Relay, the annual kickoff event is Jan. 24 at North Bend Theatre

There’s always another goal for the Relay for Life Snoqualmie Valley. When the organization exceeded its goal of raising $100,000 for the American Cancer Society last year, they raised the target. When they signed up the number of teams they’d been hoping for, they set a new goal.

It’s all part of Relay chairperson Bev Jorgensen’s ultimate plan, to involve the entire Snoqualmie Valley community in this annual community event to fight cancer. She is the longtime spokesperson for the event, a passionate, and apt choice, having been diagnosed with cancer herself last year.

“We need the community to step up and be a part of Relay, because cancer affects the whole community,” Jorgensen.

The kickoff event, an hour of informal meeting, greeting, information gathering and team registrations, followed by a program, runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, at the North Bend Theatre. There will be several speakers, entertainment, and food available for purchase. Participating teams can register for the July 8 event, and interested team members can learn more about Relay for Life.

In the Snoqualmie Valley, Relay for Life is an 18-hour walking or running event that is a celebration of cancer survivors, a remembrance of people lost to the disease and a rally to support the ongoing efforts in research and patient support by the American Cancer Society. It starts at 2 p.m., Saturday, July 8, at Tollgate Farm Park.

Organizers hope to register at least 40 teams, committed to keep at least one teammate walking or running on the trail for the entire Relay.

“A team can be two or three people,” Jorgensen said, but no more than 15. “You want enough team members so you can all walk the track and take some of the pressure off the others.”

So far, about 10 teams have signed up, but that number should jump after the kick-off.

“We try to get some of our good-old comeback teams to get started early,” Jorgensen explained, “and the purpose of the kick-off is to try to bring in new teams.”

Relay teams raise funds for their participation by gathering donations. Last year, the Relay event reached its elusive goal of raising $100,000 from the event, so this year, “we raised the bar, just a little,” said Jorgensen. The 2017 target is $113,000.

Among the speakers scheduled for the event is Wendy Larson — “she’s been a part of Relay for ever and ever,” said Jorgensen. She is also the daughter of Sharon Larson, who was a Relay founder. Sharon lost her battle with cancer in 2014.

It’s going to be an emotional night for those familiar with the Relay and for those who aren’t as they hear from survivors, and from Relay regulars about why they walk.

“I’d encourage people to come to the kickoff, just to get a picture of what it’s about,” said Jorgensen.

It will also help them to understand all the purple that will start appearing in the Valley soon, because the national theme is Paint the World Purple.

“We’re really just looking to paint the Valley purple, we’re not going to do the whole world, Jorgensen said.

Learn more at http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLCY17GW?pg=entry&fr_id=80662, or find the group on Facebook.

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From left: Captain Nick Almquist, Gini Ekoes, Heather Payne, and Chief Perry Phipps. Courtesy photo.
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