Relay for Life 24-hour event celebrates survival, hope

Stormy skies and intermittent downpours didn’t stop attendees from participating in the annual Relay for Life of East Clark County. The 24-hour event, held on Saturday and Sunday, raises money for the American Cancer Society.

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These flags were placed along the course, a solemn reminder of the lives taken by cancer.

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Peggy Denny, 19, poses with “Chester Cheeta,” who was handing out free Cheetos to participants. It’s her first year on a relay team.

Every year, a group of dedicated walkers and runners comes together to celebrate life and putting an end to cancer with the Relay for Life of East Clark County event.The 24-hour relay, a benefit for the American Cancer Society, draws people from all walks of life: Cancer survivors, those who have lost a loved one to the disease, or people who just want to help out and have fun while doing it.

“I really like the survivor lap, and all the participation from various ages,” said Kathi Terwilleger.

Terwilleger, part of the Walmart Walkers team, has been involved with Relay for Life for the past six years.

Five years ago, her granddaughter, now 23, was diagnosed with cancer.

“She’s a survivor now,” Terwilleger said. “I wish more people would come out and participate, because this is such a great cause.”

Last year, Relay for Life of East Clark County raised close to $100,000 for cancer research and prevention.

Chairwoman Joan Hayden is hoping to raise $80,000 this year, due to some struggles finding an event location.

“No matter what, we always have a good time,” she said. “Being a survivor of breast cancer myself, I just like the camaraderie of all the people in Camas and Washougal. It is such a family oriented area. It’s just an incredible feeling being out here.”

Several events are held during Relay for Life to raise money, such as a silent auction, quilt raffles, bingo and Hayden’s favorite, Mr. Relay.

“We get a gentleman from every team and they come and dress up as a female, then they go around and raise money,” she said. “It’s just way fun.” There was also a canned food drive to benefit the Inter-Faith Treasure House, in Washougal.

Crystal Denny, 19, joined in the festive atmosphere with her mom, Peggy, who also serves on the Relay for Life committee.

It is Crystal’s first year on a team.

“I really enjoy the positive attitude of everyone, despite the weather,” she said. “The whole event is fun and for a good cause.”

Caitlynn Ricks, 9, has been participating for three years.

“I really enjoy running on the track and beading,” she said. “And the watermelon contest.”

For more information, visit www.relayforlife.org/Eastclarkcountywa.

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