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Relay for Life is a step in the right direction

Participants raise funds that support local residents and families touched by cancer
by: contributed photo These walkers participated in the survivor lap at the beginning of the 2010 Relay for Life at Sandy High School. The annual overnight event — this year Friday and Saturday, July 29-30 — raises money to support local families and for cancer research.

Organizers of the 2011 Relay for Life are hoping to welcome more than 500 participants in the annual fundraiser to help pay for cancer research and support local families battling cancer.

But this is more than a fundraiser; it's a big party - a community gathering - that touches most human emotions, according to Jan Smith, an event organizer.

Activities range widely from the basic walking around the high school track all night long to the remembrance ceremonies with hundreds of luminaries around the track to the games for all ages to the team competition to be best in several areas such as campsite decorations, (cross-dressed) Mr. Relay and food sales, which includes a couple of classes taught by a faux Julia Child.

There are so many fun things to do, Smith says, that there is literally no time without activity from Friday at 6 p.m. to Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

At times the event will resemble a carnival, with the Dunk a Cop tank, Mr. Relay competition, autographed photos with faux stars and carnival food items such as popcorn, hot dogs, slushies, nachos, snow cones and 'Cow Girl Cupcakes.'

Among other ways of raising funds is a silent auction and lots of Relay for Life memorabilia for sale by the teams from businesses and organizations and local families - all to support the work of the cancer society.

Hundreds of people will fill the football field at Sandy High School and at least one from each team will walk around the track at all times from 6 p.m. Friday, July 29, to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 30.

Individuals are welcome, Smith says, and they may participate as individuals or join an established team. Teams include 15 people or fewer. Registration begins at 4 p.m. Friday.

Smith's words of welcome to all Sandy, Boring and Mount Hood area residents are, 'Come join us. Celebrate a world with more birthdays.'

During the final event activity - called milestones - which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, cancer survivors take their places in groups around the track. Each group has one thing in common: the number of years they have been a survivor.

As they spread out around the track, people will stand in a group of one-year survivors all the way up to a group of 30-year survivors.

And many in-between.

Those are the milestones, Smith says, to provide those in the one-year, three-year and five year groups, for example, with the hope there will be more birthdays.

'We're all working,' Smith said, 'to create a world with more birthdays - to get rid of cancer and to support the people dealing with cancer.'

The event is a fundraiser of the American Cancer Society, which provides support for people in treatment and for researchers trying to find cures and treatments for many cancers.

'All proceeds from every sale of any kind that we're having at the event go to the American Cancer Society,' Smith said. 'We're hoping to hit $47,500, but our goal is $50,000. We're also doing a canned food drive to help the Sandy Community Action Center.'

At the event's end, several awards will be presented to the teams judged best in several categories.

The Relay for Life includes many activities beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, including the incessant walking, opening and awards ceremonies, three bands, scavenger hunt, silent auction, bounce house, rock wall, prize wheel, bedtime stories, dart balloons, two food demonstrations with Julia Child, luminary ceremonies, flag-folding, Texas hold-em poker, Mr. Relay competition, Bunko, Frisbee golf, cake decorating, sing-along, hula hoops, Zumba, Tribal team parade and ending with the hope-building 'milestones.'

Parking is at the high school and near the football field, but not in the new parking lot, which has asphalt still curing.

For more information, contact Smith by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit RelayForLife.Org/SandyOR.