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Celebrating an Evening of Hope

REVIEW PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE  - Steve and Shari Olsen and their children, Kaity and John, release a dove during Friday's Evening of Hope in downtown Lake Oswego. The Olsens are longtime supporters of the fundraising event, and Steve himself is a cancer survivor.REVIEW PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE  - Molly Day of Lake Oswego arranges luminarias around a reflecting pool in Millennium Plaza Park, each containing words or images in honor of those who have battled or are currently battling cancer.The rain came just as predicted, but it didn’t deter those who gathered in downtown Lake Oswego on Friday for the Evening of Hope, the second-annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

The drizzle couldn’t dampen the feeling of hopefulness that emanated from Millennium Plaza Park. And even with lighter-than-expected attendance, proceeds already have exceeded funds raised at last year’s event.

“We are right around $57,000 now and can take donations until the end of August,” said event organizer Rhonda Cohen. “We want to really thank those who came and braved the rain showers and wind. We had 30 cancer survivors attend.”

The event featured live music provided by local youth musicians, games, the ever-popular silent auction and wine tasting. There were quiet moments of reflection, too, with the lighting of luminaria honoring those who have had or now have cancer, and a dove release for survivors.

“That’s my favorite part of the evening,” Cohen said.

Each year, more than 4 million people in over 20 countries raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer through the American Cancer Society’s Evening of Hope and Relay for Life programs. All of the money raised locally will support early screenings, research and patient services in the Portland metro area.

To donate to the Lake Oswego Evening for Hope project, visit tinyurl.com/LOEveningofHope. To learn more about the Relay for Life program, visit www.relay.acsevents.org.

— Barb Randall

REVIEW PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE  - Cancer survivor Mike Hasson tosses a bean bag at The Hasson Company's wine bar booth during the Evening of Hope, which is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

REVIEW PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE  - Keynote speakers Gary and Beth Schulke share a kiss before releasing a dove Friday evening.

REVIEW PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE  - Nicole Konicke, a sophomore at Lakeridge High School, volunteered to decorate luminaria bags for the Evening of Hope.