Relaying for many reasons

Participants included cancer survivors, their families and other supporters

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The annual Relay for Life of East Clark County involved people of all ages, from toddlers to senior citizens.

Approximately 300 individuals helped raise $58,885 for the American Cancer Society.

The 24-hour relay began Saturday, at 10 a.m., in Fishback Stadium, by Washougal High School. By then, many of the 29 relay teams and event sponsors had set up their display tables, decorations and camping tents.

Bob Coffland, 55, traveled from Kennewick, Washington, with his wife to walk in the relay for the third year. They have family and friends who live in Camas and Washougal.

Bob was the first person in his family, in recent history, to have cancer.

“It hit hard and made me appreciate what I have,” he said.

Bob is a survivor of colon cancer.

Teri Hammerquist, 53, of Washougal, is a three-time survivor — of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and uterine cancer.

“There is a lot of cancer in our family,” she said. “Several have died.

“This is a way to support the cause and find a cure,” Hammerquist added.

She was at the relay with another cancer survivor, her sister, Ellen Moffett, of Washougal, and their mother, Fran Moffett, of Camas.

“I’m here for the opening ceremonies and to spend money at the booths,” Fran said.

“Hopefully one day, they will find a cure,” she added, while holding a luminaria bag decorated with a photo of her husband, James Moffett.

He died of lung cancer in 2009.

Dawn Holen, of Washougal, was walking in the relay in honor of her best friend, Lesa Wilson, who died of lung cancer this year.

Holen’s mother and several friends have also battled the disease.

Beating the heat

Relay Chairwoman Mandy Dunn told the crowd in attendance for the opening ceremonies that the goal of the event was to “stop cancer in its tracks.”

In an effort to offset the effects of the heat and humidity, there were a few shade tents and fans, as well as a walk-through water mister set up along the track.

Cancer survivors and caregivers of people with cancer participated in the first lap of the relay, by walking in opposite directions and meeting in the middle of the track, as Brandon Thomas sang “Over the Rainbow.”

The survivors and caregivers then enjoyed a complimentary lunch, provided by Noodles & Company, with dessert from The Hungry’s bakery.

Early in the afternoon, Wes Varney cooled off with a fan and water mist.

He appreciated the efforts to keep participants as comfortable as possible.

“There’s a lot of effort that goes into this,” Varney said.

He retired from Georgia-Pacific, Friday, after working at the paper mill in Camas for 38 years.

Colorful contributors

The PLEXSYS Interface Products, Inc. team area included a multitude of pink and white balloons in the shape of an arch, decorated with pink flamingo inflatables and pink leis.

A container of pink lemonade and a children’s size pool filled with bottled water for sale added to the tropical flair.

Team members were available to apply pink nail polish to anyone who wanted to donate $1.

The theme of this year’s relay was “Mardi Gras: Carnival for a Cure.”

The table for the “Alma’s Avengers” team, named in honor of Alma Ladd, featured cinnamon rolls with sprinkles in the traditional Mardi Gras King Cake colors of green, purple and yellow.

Several of the relay teams sold cooling neckerchiefs to beat the heat and colorful beads to add to necklaces and commemorate the number of laps walked.

Bill Grable, of Camas, stopped at one of the booths to pick up a bead for each lap. His goal was to walk 51 miles Saturday.

Grable ended up walking 60 miles.

Drs. Dave Stinchfield and Tom Stinchfield, brothers and owners of Discovery Dental, of Washougal, provided complimentary toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss at their table.

Dave’s wife, Adina Stinchfield, said a patient asked them to support the event.

“This is our second year,” she said. “It’s in our backyard.

“We find that a lot of people forget their toothbrushes for the relay, and there is a rush [to pick up the free products] at 10 p.m.,” Adina added.

Educational components

Representatives from PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center were at the relay, with a booth filled with booklets and pamphlets about various health issues.

There were also complimentary sunscreen and lip balm samples near “cup cozies” knit by the PeaceHealth Cancer Dream Team.

A Breast, Cervical and Colon Health Program provides no cost screenings for uninsured individuals. Funding comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the State of Washington.

Entertainment options varied

The Walmart Walkers, consisting of employees from the Southeast 192nd Avenue store, provided henna and face painting services, for donations.

A “Twisted Art” team offered tarot card readings.

The “Crazy Crafters for a Cure” provided visual escapes from the heat, with snowman and Christmas-themed decorations, to help walkers think of cooler days.

Smak Plastics sold homemade baked goods, as well as used books, while Walgreens, of Camas, provided Frisbee discs, pens, empty water bottles and brochures about various health-related topics.

Live music, by acts such as The BBQ Boys, helped energize the relay participants.

An activities tent included crafts, water balloons and a dance class by Vancouver Elite Gymnastics Academy.

Food options at the relay included tacos, cheeseburgers, ice cream and shaved ice, as well as yogurt topped with granola, fresh fruit and honey.

Silent auction and raffle items included baskets of gift cards from area merchants and restaurants, as well as a Hewlett-Packard tablet, Tonka trucks, car wash supplies, a Coach purse and crocheted Angry Birds figures.

A motocross helmet, apple tree, smoked turkey, fire pit and beach towels, kites and a children’s pool were also donated by local businesses and relay teams.

Jennifer Caine, a cancer survivor, served as the chairwoman of the silent auction.

The Mr. Relay competition, featuring men dressed as women, generated more than $450 in donations for the ACS. It was won by Joe Miller, who received $197.57 in donations in less than a half hour.

Saturday night, a luminaria ceremony honored people who have been affected by cancer.

It was organized by Tonette Sweet, and the guest speaker was Libby Mongue-Wymore, a cancer survivor who lives in Portland.

“The slide show was beautiful and puts even more of a name and face to our cause,” Dunn said.

The luminaria bags contained lights that changed colors.

Donations to the ACS can still be made. For more information, contact Dunn at 600-1738 or mandylin3@gmail.com or visit www.EastClarkCountyRelay.org.

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