Hood River’s Relay for Life participants are looking forward to what they hope will be another record-setting weekend.
The fundraiser for cancer research happens Saturday and Sunday at Hood River Valley High School.
Last year the relay’s 42 teams raised $125,000 along with The Dalles’ $38,000, making the Gorge area among the top 10 regions in the nation in terms of dollars raised per capita.
The idea for the relay was planted in May 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt took the first step of his 24-hour marathon around a Tacoma, Wash., track and raised $27,000 for the American Cancer Society.
The following year, 220 supporters joined Dr. Klatt in the overnight event and the Relay For Life was born. Now the ACS is looking at approximately 3,248 relays around the country.
The event was brought to Hood River six years ago by Leslie Cogswell, an x-ray technician at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital. The ACS headed the event, and nine teams raised $18,000 for the organization.
Cogswell took over as the relay’s Hood River chair for the next four years, and was succeeded by Mooreen Morris, who also serves as the event’s treasurer.
“Keeping track of the money is what I love, and hopefully I can get back to doing just that next year,” Morris said. “If you don’t divide up the tasks, you end up working from September until after the relay, and you just about get burned out.”
Still, Morris wouldn’t think of missing the event, with its schedule of activities chock full from 9 a.m. Saturday morning to 9 a.m. Sunday at the high school track.
All team members should arrive at the track between 7-8 a.m. to register and set up tent sites. Official team introductions and pictures begin after the opening ceremony and greeting by Tony White at 9 a.m.
Ongoing activities throughout the day include a scavenger hunt, a silent auction between 2-5 p.m., a tent contest, multiple drawings and a quilt raffle.
Haircutting takes place on the stage at noon. The hair will be donated to make wigs through a program called “Locks for Love.” Call Carolyn VanOrden at 386-3990 if you’re interested in participating.
The Jamba Marimba Band plays from 12:30-2:30 p.m., followed by guest speaker Dr. Jeff Menasche at 3 p.m., the White Salmon Jazz Band from 4:30-6:30 p.m., Blue Trick at 7 p.m., and Steve Hudson at 8 p.m.
The Hood River Fire Department will host a barbecue at 12:30 p.m., Mike’s Ice Cream will be available at 2:30 p.m. Juanita’s Fajita Bar will open at 6:30 p.m., dessert sponsored by Active Food Distribution will be available at 7 p.m., and Soroptimists will serve a Sunrise Breakfast at 6 a.m. Sunday morning, sponsored by Don Nunamaker Realtors.
From midnight to 4 a.m. there will be Veggie Bingo and more on the track. A sunrise service by Dan Armstrong will follow at 6:30 a.m., and the final lap and closing ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m.
Luminaries will be sold for those who wish to dedicate their walk. The small bags of sand, each with a candle, will be placed around the track and lit at the Luminary Ceremony at 10 p.m.
Parking for the relay is available to the north of the school, directed by the high school Honor Society. If anyone needs help transporting goods, has a golf cart or similar vehicle to help others, or wishes to park an RV, contact Dick Snyder at 387-9532 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.