by: Barbara Adams, Susan Wagner, owner of Curves, takes a bite out of cancer during the Estacada Relay for Life Friday.

Eighteen teams participated in the first Estacada Relay for Life held Friday night through Saturday morning at the Estacada High School track.

The American Cancer Society fundraising event began at 6 p.m. Friday with opening ceremonies, including a personal story by Tina Helbig, a colon cancer survivor who lives in Milwaukie. The relay started with a survivor lap. Maggie Rhodes, Estacada Relay for Life event chair, said at least 25 cancer survivors participated.

Rhodes said approximately 280 individuals contributed to the success of the event, which raised $18,000.

'For a first year event, it was awesome,' Rhodes said. 'All the other first year events, for this division-we just blew them out of the water.'

Team members took turns walking the track throughout the night and into the morning. Tents were set up in the field with sleeping bags for naps. To raise more money for the American Cancer Society, teams sold food such as watermelon, Krispy Kream doughnuts, fresh fruit, lemonade and pop. A silent auction was also held until closing ceremonies at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

The event was supposed to end at noon, but was cut short because of the weather. 'At 9:15 a.m. it was already 85 degrees,' Rhodes said.

Nine sponsors also contributed to the success of the event, including City of Estacada, Cascade Utilities, Estacada Chiropractic, In Memory of Jeff Tyseling, Curves, Division Maytag, Oregon City Family Practice, Jerry Olsen CPA, and Master Tech.

Rhodes feels passionate about supporting the American Cancer Society because of her many friends and family members, including her mom, who have at one time or another been diagnosed with cancer. 'I'm involved because I want to make sure my seven-year-old niece doesn't have to hear the words, 'I have cancer,'' she said.

Plans are already being made for next year's event. Rhodes said she is now looking for committee members.

If interested call Maggie at 503-502-9629 or Kristen at 503-795-3912.

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