Survivors and caregivers walk, smile, cry and find hope at Snoqualmie Valley Relay for Life cancer benefit | Photo Gallery

Todd Shelver flashes a victory sign on his lap for the Dress Barn team. - Seth Truscott/Staff Photo
Todd Shelver flashes a victory sign on his lap for the Dress Barn team.
— image credit: Seth Truscott/Staff Photo

Everybody had a reason to be there. For cancer survivor Dave Sharpy, those reasons have names, starting with his friends Sharon Larson and Tall Bill Blakely, who he lost in the last year to cancer.

“Yesterday, my stepdaughter started her chemotherapy,” said Sharpy, among the survivors and supporters who shared their experience at the 2014 Snoqualmie Valley Relay for Life. “She’s going to be going through that struggle. Once again, I have a new reason to Relay.”

The two-day walkathon has raised nearly $80,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Relay, held Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13, at North Bend’s Torguson Park, interspersed lighthearted moments with sorrow, remembrance, deadly seriousness and bright hope. Here, there was a cancer survivor in her 70s. A few feet away, teens laughed and hung out.

At the Snoqualmie Valley Key Club booth, North Bend resident Dave Olson sat down amid a gaggle of high-school age relayers.

Cancer runs in his family—both his father, Don, a 20-year teacher at North Bend Elementary, and his grandfather, Melvin Olson, succumbed to cancer. Dave remembered them with a bright luminaria lantern Saturday evening.

At the podium, North Bend resident Erin Mitchell shared her story. In 2009, she and her daughter lost their husband and father to gastric cancer within months of diagnosis. She had a few months with Steve, caring for him full time.

“It went really fast,” Mitchell said. “The biggest thing I can say to caregivers is, remember there’s a life to be lived. We’re so blessed to be able to care for people. Share encouraging words, and let them know they’re not alone.”

“For a multitude of reasons, I’m here today,” said Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson, who related his family’s struggles, losses and successes in the fight against cancer. His father-in-law’s fast passing, and his own father’s 10-year battle with the disease. Larson was grateful for the time, and thanked relayers, in particular committee leader Bev Jorgenson of North Bend, for their roles.

“I’m privileged and proud to not only personally say ‘Thank you’ to all of you for what you do. It meant a great deal for my family but on behalf of the residents of Snoqualmie, I extend a deep and warm ‘thank you.’ Keep the fight going.”

Snoqualmie Valley Relay for Life’s fundraiser continues this summer. Learn how to help at

Diane Johnson from Fall City and husband Ron Johnson, of the team Pink Flamingos

Stones make for decorated crafts at a Relay booth.

Super Troopers bring up the tail of the Survivor Lap.

Cancer survivors on the march.

Boy Scout Kyle Nedblake brings in the colors.

Dakota Michaud and Logan Henry, Cancer Kickers.

Old Rusty Keys: Jenny Green, Sarah Tracy and Danielle Curley, MSHS Key Club alumni

Members of the Tacky Tourist team, friends, relatives and survivors from as far as Lacey: Mary Dart, Jim Dart, Vicky Deshaes, Marcelle Lynde, Pat Parmely, Carol Meunier, Cheryl Melcher, Mid Parmely, Bob Melcher.

Dakota Michaud, 13, of North Bend, makes a luminaria remembering her great-grandparents, Stan and Ellen Root, who both died from cancer.

The Mount Si Key Club.

Members of the Super Troopers relay squad.

DMW Martial Arts' squad holds their banner.

Survivors and caregivers get ready to begin the first lap.

Bob Melcher gets misted by Andi Reyes, staying cool on the route.

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