Relay races to Silverdale

"Central Kitsap will fight its round in the battle against cancer during the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life this weekend.The two-day event starts Friday at Silverdale Stadium and will continue into Saturday evening with a sleep-over at the track.It's real family orientated, said Jaquelyn Kleiner, community development manager for the American Cancer Society. We want to see everyone out there.The cancer awareness event is put on by the American Cancer Society and seeks to bring cancer education and awareness into a community setting.That's why the entire community is invited, Kleiner said. To get everyone involved.Events include a 24-hour walk around the track, during which sponsored teams earn pledges for each lap. The most emotional event is the Luminaria ceremony, when white bags with candles in them are placed around the track in memory of cancer victims and patients.You never really know about it until it happens to you, and then all of the sudden you notice everyone who has had it, said Sara Taylor, co-chair for the local relay. And everyone has been effected by it.Taylor became involved with the relay five years ago, when she learned she had cancer. Although the event could have a heavy emotional air as people deal with a fatal illness, she said the mood at the relay is usually festive.There are some tears, but a short time of tears and a lot of laughter, Taylor said. It's like a carnival.Festivities include square dancing, a live disk jockey and a silent auction. Former Seattle Seahawk Randall Morrison also will be on hand to sign autographs.The Relay for Life was started in 1985 when Tacoma physician Gordon Klatt walked around a track for 24 hours to raise cancer awareness and $27,000 for the American Cancer Society.Last year, more than 3,000 relays across the country raised more than $220 million for cancer research and education. According to Kleiner, cancer education, treatment and awareness have grown by leaps and bounds with the help of cancer programs such as the relay. She can recall a time in the 1950s when cancer was believed to be contagious. We have come so far. Every day our national line gets word of more and more discoveries, Kleiner said. I believe we'll see a cure in our lifetime."

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