When the survivors began their march, there was hardly a dry eye at Torguson Park.
The 2013 Snoqualmie Valley Relay for Life began, as always, with the Survivor Lap. Groups of people who fought the hard fight against cancer—some for as few as five, some as long as 20 years, some still fighting it—donned commemorative survival medals and walks down a row of onlookers.
Some shared smiles, some high fives, others, their tears of joy and intense emotion.
"I want to celebrate you guys," proclaimed Relay Survivor Chairwoman Deanna Haverfeld. She's never battled cancer herself, but has had many connections and a few scares in her family.
"From the day these people heard the words, 'You have cancer,' they have been survivors. Some count from the day they heard 'You are cancer free.' But they are all survivors, and we are all caregivers to one another."
Relay was for all ages. Saturday afternoon, two members of the youth team, the Waterfall Raisins, were out front with merchandise, hair extensions and bracelets they offered for donations, the rest jumbled together in the nearby tent.
With the 2013 Snoqualmie Valley Relay for Life about to begin, the Raisins were within a hair of their goal.
"I'm pretty sure we'll raise $100 by tomorrow morning," said team leader Maiya Weinmaster.
A group of friends and schoolmates, the reams joined 22 other teams Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 17 and 18, to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.
By the end of the weekend, the Raisins had blew through their $1,500 goal. All teams raised a total of $51,700 and counting, all for programs that help people with cancer.
You can learn more about Relay for Life at http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=50796. Donations are taken through the end of August.
Boy Scouts begin the Survivor Lap at the start of the Valley Relay for Life. This is the first year that Scouts have started the event.
All survivors and caregivers pose for a group photo. More than 100 cancer survivors and caregivers met last weekend at North Bend's Torguson Park to help in the fight against the disease.
"My family made this for me": Melvina Whitham of Newcastle shows off the pink paper "5" that shows she's been cancer-free for five years.
Sydne Hooper, 10, lets her imagination create a luminaria as her mom, Bambi, writes down names of friends and loved ones lost to cancer on a paper lantern of her own. "It's just something that's touched everybody," says Bambi.
Mary Hinkle accepts a survivor's medal from Bev Jorgensen at the Relay opening ceremonies.
Some people she knows, some she doesn't, but Betty Rhynalds of North Bend makes luminaria for all, among the hundreds of colored memorial lanterns to be lit Saturday night. She feels like she makes a connection to their lives. "I'm a survivor myself." This is her first Relay. "I'm sure there'll be many."
A young member of Team Face puts on his all-night campout bracelet.
The youth team, Waterfall Raisins, cheer in tie-dye. From left are, front row, Myah Waud, Shelby Johnson, back row, Blake Meister, Ireland Piller, Sarah Mitchell, Maiya Weinmaster, Alexa Weinmaster, Abby Henry, Shelby Henry, Shirley Platt and Doug Weinmaster. They're tied in by school and friendship. The name came about during a playful raisin-throwing incident.
Volunteer Gillian Nedblake, right, holds a sign as survivors gather for the initial lap.
Butters the bulldog visits the Relay with owners Leah and Larry Aichle of Sallal Grange.
Our Sweet One teammates Sean Noreen and Jana Busby hold a memorial placard showing many names of friends and loved ones.
Old Rusty Keys, graduate alumni of the Mount Si Key Club, keep on Relaying. Pictured are Heidi Dehart, Kayla Tostevin, Jenny Green and Molly Cordell. "We really liked Relay and decided we didn't want to stop."
Mount Si Key Club's Relaying members in their tent.