Dorie Ross knows the devastating effects of cancer first hand, having survived a battle with breast cancer in 2009. That experience, and the support she received from the American Cancer Society has led her to volunteer her time to organize the Juanita-Woodinville Relay for Life May 19 at Juanita High School.
“The American Cancer Society provided me with lots of information to help me through my process,” Ross said. “From their very informative booklets, to their 'Look Good Feel Better' program, I felt supported by them the entire way.”
Ross grew up in Woodinville, part of the first graduating class of Woodinville High School, and although she lives in Renton now, she still has family here and organizes many Relay events in the area.
Last week, Ross organized a walk/rock for life event at that raised $700. Residents, including 104-year-old Evelyn Jones, walked around the second floor of the main building for as many laps as they could. Those who could not walk sat in rocking chairs and “rocked” laps.
“The retirement community is a great place to find super people who might not be able to come to the actual Relay in May at the high school but really want to be involved,” Ross said. “We met with Claudia and Peggy from Brittany Park last January and the ideas just started flowing. They were a bronze sponsor right from the beginning, but decided they wanted to do a couple of fundraisers to raise their sponsorship level.”
Brittany Park is holding a bake sale fundraiser for Relay for Life on April 19, and a Bark for Life event is scheduled for The Creekside retirement community on April 22.
“Aimee and I really wanted to focus on community involvement for our Relay,” Ross said, referring to Amiee Martin, the American Cancer Society employee assigned to this area’s relays. “They are an enthusiastic group and we love working with them. Bottom line, the senior community has been very welcoming and supportive of our Relay.”
Relay for Life started in the mid-1980s with Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma colorectal surgeon, who wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office and to show support for all of his patients who had battled cancer. He decided to personally raise money for the fight by doing something he enjoyed – running marathons.
In May 1985, Dr. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. He ran for more than 83 miles. That first year, nearly 300 of Dr. Klatt's friends, family, and patients watched as he ran and walked the course. Throughout the night, friends donated $25 to run or walk with Dr. Klatt for 30 minutes. His efforts raised $27,000 to fight cancer.
At many Relay events, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. The idea of the 24-hour relay is to symbolize that cancer never sleeps. Participants do not have to walk all night, but each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event.
Over the years, Relay for Life has expanded to include more than just the 24-hour events; elementary schools hold recess relays, there are bake sales, and even Bark for Life events that focus on the caregiving qualities of dogs.
Upcoming Relay events in the area:
- April 19-Bake sale at Brittany Park (Woodinville)
- April 22-Raly for Life at Creekside Retirement Community (Woodinville)
- May 19-Relay for Life Juanita/Woodinville (Juanita High School, Kirkland)
- June 9-Rely for Life Redmond/Kirkland (Redmond High School)
For more events area events, including some at Northshore elementary schools, check the Relay for Life website, http://www.relayforlife.org/getinvolved/findanevent/app/findanevent.aspx?searchQuery=98072&x=0&y=0&resultsPerPage=10