Central Kitsap families walk to fight cancer
By RACHEL BRANT
Central Kitsap Reporter Staff writer
February 10, 2009 · Updated 9:27 AM
Family bonding never felt so good for the Cundiff family.
They were one of the many teams who participated in this year's Relay for Life of Central Kitsap & Bremerton June 21 and 22. Nearly 20 family members took to the track at Central Kitsap High School in Silverdale to show their support for a cure to a disease that has greatly affected their family.
Cady Piper, of Bremerton, participated in Relay for Life as a solo walker for four years, but she created the Cundiff family team for this year's event.
"This was the first year everybody was around," Cady said. "It's really, really exciting. I'm glad we finally got it together."
The Cundiff family participated in Relay for Life in honor of Cady's grandfather, Bill Cundiff, and in memory of Bill's mother, Dixie Cundiff, who died of lung cancer in 2005.
At 73 years old, Bill has battled various forms of cancer in his leg, lung and on his skin. He has been cancer-free for one year and the family came together to celebrate at Relay for Life.
"He's been fighting it 10 years," said Tracy Piper, Bill's daughter. "He's had it four times."
The Cundiff family began raising money for Relay only a month ago and, as of June 21, they raised $750 and the total continued to rise.
"By the time it all comes in, I'm pretty sure we'll have close to $1,000," Tracy said.
Cady said the family collected spare change and went door-to-door to solicit donations for Relay for Life.
Melissa Piper, of Bremerton, was a first-time Relay participant and enjoyed spending time with her family and seeing the sights Relay for Life had to offer this year.
"It definitely gives you the rush. There's just so much going on. You just step back and go 'wow,'" Melissa said.
Cady said she's always enjoyed Relay and gets goosebumps "knowing that everybody is supporting one cause."
Both Cady and Tracy enjoy watching the survivors lap and seeing their grandfather and father, Bill, don a purple "Survivor" T-shirt and take to the track for a celebratory lap.
"It is emotional. It is very emotional when you see that wall of purple coming towards you," Tracy said.
"They beat it and they're still here," Cady added.
Before participants walked their first lap Saturday, Relay for Life of Central Kitsap & Bremerton had raked in more than $140,000, more than halfway to the event goal of $190,000.
Relay for Life events throughout Kitsap County raised half a million dollars in 2007, the second highest sum of money raised in the 12 states that make up the Great West area. Relay for Life of Central Kitsap & Bremerton Co-Chair Tim Roller said the Relay committee is aiming to be No. 1 this year.
"That's amazing. That's just phenomenal," Cady said.
Cady said the Cundiff family will definitely participate in next year's Relay for Life as one team.
"We're going to do it together from now on," she said.