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2014 Relay for Life: 'Drive out cancer'

Annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society raises more than $80,000 despite a change in the format


With seven extra hours for participants to take to the track, there were moments during Saturday’s Relay for Life when only a few people could be seen on the tarmac. But co-chairmen Kathy Brown and Marty Brown said the new set-up seems to be preferred.

“I like it this way because you get to enjoy the relay more,” Kathy Brown said of the relay and the various events and activities throughout the day. “We’ll learn what things went better and the things that did not go as well and make adjustments so it’s up there again next year.”by: GARY ALLEN - Triumph - While Relay for Life is designed to raise money for current cancer patients and research, it also celebrates those who have beat the odds. Each event starts with a walk celebrating those people.

Even with the deceptively sparse daytime turnout, the 12th relay in Newberg drew 42 teams, more than 340 participants and collected more than $80,000 in donations, exceeding last year’s totals.

“Last year we raised $77,000 …,” Kathy Brown said. “I think Newberg’s main goal is to make it aware that we do still have a problem and raise more money for research. The percent that goes to research is outstanding. Most of the funding that is brought in to research is from (the American Cancer Society).”

But every dollar still counts, which is why this year they decided to limit t-shirt orders and subsequently were short during the survivor walk in the morning.

“We ran out of t-shirts for the survivors. It’s kind of sad that you run out of t-shirts, but it also means (people) are coming out,” she said. “We tried to cut back on t-shirts this year and just order what was ordered to cut back on costs. In the past we’ve ordered extras to cover everybody and we end up with a couple hundred. It all adds up and we want all this to be profit, so we try to not spend any money we don’t have to.”

She said in addition to the outpouring of financial support, she’s always proud of the turnout.

“One thing that’s amazing about Newberg is the amount of people who volunteered,” she said. “We have over 30 people on our committee with people saying I’d like to be on the committee next year, so that’s awesome.”

Diane Allen has led a team, Excel Fitness Fanatics, the past two years. But this year she volunteered as secretary for the committee as well.

“I enjoy the organizational part of it and helping with the planning stages,” Allen said. “It’s kind of fun to see how we can make it better and more accessible to the public.”

One of those changes was the shift to more daylight hours, something she’s enjoyed as well.

“I think when we started on Friday night people were coming right from work, already kind of tired and then it gets dark so quickly,” she said, “so it seems like there’s more time to enjoy the things going on.”

As for why she keeps coming back, Allen’s reasons are the same as most.

“We’ve all been touched by cancer somehow — relatives, friends — and I just think we’re so close to getting grid of it that any little bit we can do helps,” Allen said. “The fact that most of the money stays local in Yamhill County helping support patients and patient’s families, that part appeals to me, that you’re not just donating to some national organization and not knowing where it goes.”

The team Allure Hair Design Cares joined for the first time this year. Although owner Sandra Stone has had many family members stricken by cancer, they were especially touched by a family member Delaney.

“She is married into our family. She got diagnosed last August with a brain tumor and brain cancer and she just turned 3 in May,” said Allure member Katie Crappa. “She went through her chemo and radiation and she took her victory lap at the Relay for Life this morning.”

Stone said this may be her first year in Newberg, but after moving from Sherwood where she was involved with Relay for Life, it won’t be her last.

“This is my community and I just wanted to help,” she said.

With the event considered an overall success, Kathy Brown said it’ll just get better and better.

“Everything that’s new takes a little while, but this is all bonus,” she said gesturing to the silent auction and additional relay events. “It’s pretty awesome.”

For more information, or to donate to the cause, visit relayforlife.org.




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