The 17th annual Relay For Life of Snoqualmie Valley is set for June 2020, but folks are gearing up for it now. A kickoff celebration is set for this week with a dessert auction and the community is invited to learn more, register, or just enjoy. All of the proceeds support cancer research and programs.
The party takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 1 at the Snoqualmie Valley Eagles (8200 Railroad Ave., Snoqualmie). All are welcome to attend and learn more about how Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society help local survivors and caregivers through donations.
“We’re all really excited,” said Jaedi Stevens, event lead and Snoqualmie resident.
This is the first time the local group is hosting a dessert auction for its kickoff called, “The Great Sno Valley Bake Off.” People can bid on a dessert or bake one to auction off.
“We are definitely trying to get more people involved. If anyone would like to bake something to bring they can,” Stevens said.
While the group appreciates all would-be contributing bakers communicating what they plan to bring with the team organizing the auction, she said the teams would gladly accept anyone just showing up with a dessert, too.
Attendees also can make luminarias, the paper lanterns that traditionally illuminate the Relay course.
The groups are hoping this will help garner interest for Relay. Though the big event is months out, teams are already in their fundraising period and this is a good time to start raising money, Stevens said.
She said the kickoff is a great chance for anyone interested to come have some fun and learn more, with no pressure to join the Relay event. People can also consider starting a team, joining a team, registering for the event as an individual, or becoming a sponsor.
Stevens said she coordinates the entire Relay event and all its happenings with a team of eight or nine people, all of whom are volunteers. This is the first year she is the sole event lead, having volunteered as co-lead at past years’ events.
She first became involved with Relay For Life about four years ago when a close family friend’s father was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer and died. That friend started a team and Stevens joined.
Registration for the kickoff event is not required, but Stevens said she hopes people will RSVP via social media. The Facebook event for the kickoff can be found on the “Relay for Life Snoqualmie Valley” Facebook page.
Stevens and the relay teams are hoping to have 100 people attend the kickoff this year. As far as the goal for the number of Relay attendees, they want as many as possible.
Last year, Stevens said there were 17 teams, with 59 participants and 12 survivors registered and many more people onlooking or even walking without being registered. She said the event is pretty small and the next closest one is in Issaquah, which had 49 teams last year.
There are several ways people can participate or contribute, and Stevens said the notion that participants have to run laps is a misconception. Not even walking, which is done by many, is required. People of all ages and abilities can attend and participate as much or as little as they wish.
She said there’s also no pressure to raise a large amount of money. “Even $1 — 75 cents goes to find a cure for cancer,” Stevens said. Anyone is welcome to participate and contribute, with no amount being too small.
Stevens estimated at least 80 percent of total proceeds will go straight to cancer fighting efforts, and the money raised by the Snoqualmie Valley Relay will stay in the Valley. Although there is no cancer research center in the Valley, all the money stays local, Stevens said.
“There’s a whole slew of things the money goes towards. It stays directly in the Valley,” she said.
She said Relay For Life is important not just because it supports local programs, but also because the community is so impacted by the issue.
“For me it’s so personally important because cancer affects all of us,” she said, sharing that she had lost three grandparents to cancer by the time she graduated high school.
She also said the event is enjoyable and brings a spirited sense of community.
“We just have a lot of fun with the event and the different fundraising we do,” Stevens said. “Start a team, join a team, reach out to get more info — Once you start doing it, you kind of get hooked.”
More sponsors and donations are desired, and Stevens said the relay teams are lucky to be in the Snoqualmie area, with many local businesses donating coffee, other services, and time.
“Our Valley is really generous,” she said. “We really appreciate it. And we’re always looking for people to sponsor this event and other events.”
This will be the 17th annual Relay For Life of Snoqualmie Valley, and the 35th year overall for Relay For Life, which began in Tacoma. The actual Snoqualmie Relay event will take place June 27 and 28. The start time is not yet set, but Stevens estimates a 2 p.m. start time.
More information about Relay For Life of Snoqualmie Valley can be found at relayforlife.org/snoqualmievalleywa.