Opinion

Opinion | Relay shows positive power of Valley

One of the common frustrations of many newspaper readers is the perception that all news is negative. Major news cycles often revolve around tragedies like shootings, the mass devastation caused by tsunamis and floods, terror plots and the casualties of war.

Recognizing that people have a need and desire to know what’s happening when things go horribly wrong, I like to think that I can exempt myself from ‘If it bleeds, it leads” cynicism. But I also know that in smaller communities as in all communities, bad things happen.

In the last ten issues, we’ve covered hard stories, crimes and tragedies, among them two drowning victims, purse thievery and a counterfeiting investigation. We’ve also tried to promote good causes, such as the Snoqualmie Valley Veteran’s Memorial, the Blue Star Program or the Survivors Coffee Group, and also mark the lighthearted and joyous moments in our Valley, such as the Mount Si High School lipdub, the Valley’s three high school commencements, or our annual round of summer festivals. I’ll wager there’s not many other editors who have the joy of posting a shot like the chimp-costumed veterinarians performing a Fall City Days street dance.

One hallmark Valley event is now upon us, one that attempts to take the negative and the tragic and from it create something positive and uplifting. I’m referring to the Snoqualmie Valley Relay for Life.

Now in its ninth year, the Relay gives people whose lives have been touched by cancer—the folks who have survived the disease, and the many who have lost friends and family members to it—a day to meet, share their experiences, raise funds for the American Cancer Society’s research and help programs, and ultimately revel in the bittersweet reality of life. Tears are always shed, but for many, they are happy tears, shed for the love and smiles that were shared.

When I think about Relay for Life, I think about the first one I ever attended. A family had lost their teenage daughter to pancreatic cancer in 2001, and to preserve her memory, they set about to bring Relay for Life to their South Sound community. That first day in July, I walked laps while meeting survivors on a hot, sun-warmed track. No-one, myself included, seemed to notice the heat. Men, women and children were all there for vital reasons, wrapped up in the moment, reflecting on memories and making new ones.

That same survival-focused celebration happens this weekend, starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 9. Many people in the Valley are taking part, and I encourage those with the will and means to visit www.snovalleyrelay.org, contact a team, learn about the cause or participate yourself. You will be impressed by the spirit, stamina and excitement of what goes on this weekend at Snoqualmie’s Centennial Fields. And in a world that can seem so tough, you will see a wholly more uplifting side to us all.

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