Cancer never sleeps.
That is the idea being conveyed this weekend, as Relay For Life of Tillamook County prepares for twenty-four hours of events in support of those affected by cancer, according to Stephanie Butcher, first-year chairperson for the event.
By Jordan Wolfe
Held at the Tillamook County Fairgrounds, this year’s event, “The Wonderful World of Relay,” is Disney-themed and begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday and ends at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
“Come. Just come,” said Butcher, offering a reminder that the event is free to attend. “We don’t want people to feel financially obligated to come and learn.”
Liberally sprinkled throughout the day will be live entertainment as well as various family entertainment, according to Butcher. And keeping with the Disney theme, there will be a bouncy house shaped like a castle.
“We want the younger generation to know how to get involved,” she said. “We try to make it fun.”
Nearly every hour during Tillamook’s Relay for Life features a different Disney-inspired lap theme to add variety for the walkers and runners along the track. These include Two Mickey Mouse cake walks, Mad Hatter inspired hats, prince and princess costumes, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars.
In addition to the fun, Relay for Life will offer events with more substance.
“There is definitely a piece that is educational,” said Butcher, “We will have a Health and Wellness Fair on how to increase health and wellness in everyday life.”
Relay for Life, the largest fundraising event of the year for the American Cancer Society, will feature three distinct sections, Butcher said. First, a survivor lap to celebrate those who have won their fight against cancer; second, a night-time Luminaria ceremony to remember both those who have died from cancer and those who are actively fighting the disease; and third, a “fight back” ceremony to create energy for participants to take back into their community.
“We want to give people distinct opportunities to celebrate,” said Butcher.
Tillamook County is a member of the Great West Division, which includes 12 states.
“The thing that is most unique about our relay is that it covers the largest area in our state,” said Butcher. “It’s hard for people to participate in all of our events.”
She said a year of fundraising with benefit dinners and various fundraisers culminates in Relay for Life.
“It’s the one chance for everyone in the county to come together.”
A volunteer with Relay for Life of Tillamook County for six years, Butcher said the program had been in a rebuilding phase for some time.
“This year has been very successful. We have raised more [money], have more participants and have more teams. Last year we had six sponsors. This year, we have about 37,” said Butcher, adding that a staff partner with the ACS has helped businesses ability to sponsor Tillamook’s Relay easier, such as lower entry costs or offering more perks.
“We have already raised over $30,000, which is huge for us.”
Butcher said the money raised does not solely benefit cancer research.
“Research is obviously a huge part of it,” she said, “But also a huge array of programs and services to support and help those going through treatment.”
Relay for Life begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday and ends 10 a.m. on Sunday at the Tillamook County Fairgrounds, 4603 Third Street. For more information, contact Stephanie at Stephy_Jean@msn.com or 503-539-5955.