Walking for a common cause

Lora Feltes of Bremerton participated in this weekend’s Bremerton/Central Kitsap Relay For Life event at Central Kitsap High School’s track to raise money for cancer research.  - Photo by Jesse Beals
Lora Feltes of Bremerton participated in this weekend’s Bremerton/Central Kitsap Relay For Life event at Central Kitsap High School’s track to raise money for cancer research.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Not even the wind and rain could dampen the spirits of Relay For Life participants this weekend.

The Bremerton/Central Kitsap Relay For Life was Saturday and Sunday at the Central Kitsap High School track. With music in the air, Kitsap County residents walked the track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Sixty teams participated in this year’s event. First-time event chairs Tim and Jana Roller were pleased with the turnout.

“We had a fantastic turnout this weekend even though we got a ‘little’ wet on Sunday,” Tim Roller said. “We’re thrilled. A huge number of survivors showed up.”

The event opened Saturday with the survivors’ lap. Cancer survivors donned purple T-shirts with the words “I’m living proof” and walked the track together.

Roller was overwhelmed with the turnout and rendered speechless at the community support for the life-threatening disease.

“We’re working for a common cause and having a little fun doing it,” Roller said. “It’s great.”

Various local groups provided entertainment throughout the 24-hour event. A Bremerton Jazzercise group got the crowd involved in a fast-paced workout. Central Kitsap High School’s color guard team performed in honor of assistant principal Debbie Belew-Nyquist who is currently battling breast cancer.

The Major Motion dance group from the Dance Gallery of Port Orchard and Silverdale performed for Relay For Life participants Saturday. Instructor Erynn Hanson was thrilled to be invited to the fund-raising event.

“They invited us to come here and we were honored to be invited,” Hanson said. “It’s such a good cause.”

Jessica Blackburn, of Bremerton, was a first-time participant at Relay For Life. She attended the event with her friends and her 3-year-old daughter Aurora. Blackburn recently battled Hodgkin’s Disease, or Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“This is my first time here,” Blackburn said. “I’ve only been a survivor for the last eight months.”

Blackburn attended the event Saturday and enjoyed seeing cancer survivors and fund-raising supporters walk the track for a common goal.

“People can see just how many lives cancer can touch,” Blackburn said. “There are survivors.”

She is thankful for the event participants because money raised at events like Relay For Life helps support cancer research and treatment for those battling the disease.

“Many of us are survivors because of the rest who walked with us,” Blackburn said. “Those who were with us when we were battling it.”

As of Monday, Roller said the amount of money raised at Relay For Life is more than $142,000. He hopes to reach his goal of $190,000 by August.

“Some of us are going to go home and find money in our mailboxes,” Roller said with a smile. “We’ll continue raising money through August.”

Roller and his wife were so pleased with this year’s success that they plan to serve as event chairs for next year’s event.

“We had a great committee and the team captains were just fabulous,” Roller said. “I will do this again next year.”

To make a donation to Relay For Life, visit the Bremerton/Central Kitsap Relay For Life Web site at

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