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Tigard Relay for Life kicks off July 22-23

Teams can still sign up and raise money for the American Cancer Society

TIGARD - Relay for Life, the annual American Cancer Society fund-raiser, morphs into new cities each year, and for the first time, Tigard will have a stand-alone weekend.

Tigard and Tualatin have combined forces for several years, but this time around, Tualatin held its first solo event June 24-25 at Tualatin High School, and Tigard follows suit July 22-23 at Fowler Middle School.

The new coordinator for the Tigard Relay for Life is Valerie Scott, who is part of the Rocking Horse Day School team. She is now a public school teacher, but she has taught at the private school and her daughter goes there.

'I said I would be co-chair, and our team captain couldn't do it, so I took over the whole thing,' Scott said. 'It's been great.'

As of Monday, nine teams had registered, including three returning teams, and Scott expects more to come on board before the actual event.

'This year is unique, with Tualatin splitting off from us,' she said. 'It is a restructuring year.'

In addition to the convenience of registering online, people can sign up as a team, or individuals can join existing teams.

'We suggest eight to 15 people on a team,' Scott said. 'But some are smaller, and some are larger. The idea is that one person from each team is supposed to be on the track at all times. People come and pitch tents and bring camping stoves, coolers and games. Some groups decorate their campsites.'

The actual event, which is now shorter than it used to be, starts at 3 p.m. Saturday with the Survivors' Walk in which cancer survivors are invited to walk around the track at Fowler.

The next big event is the Luminaria Ceremony at 9 p.m., which follows the Southwestern custom of putting lighted candles inside paper bags. The glowing sacks, each bearing the name of a cancer survivor or deceased person who lost the battle, line Fowler's track to create a glowing pathway in the dark.

'We also read all the names of people who are no longer with us,' Scott said. 'It's a time to remember those we've lost and celebrate the ones who have won the battle. It's very moving. Some people come just for that.'

In between the scheduled events, while team members walk around the track, there will be entertainment, including the Byrom Elementary band, Vacant Lot, the performer Katemann and Hawaiian luau dancers.

The event ends at 10 a.m. Sunday.

The registration fee is $100 per team and includes printed T-shirts for each member.

For more information, visit the American Cancer Society's Web site at www.acsevents.org/relay/or/tigard or contact Scott at either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 503-925-1550.