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Walk of Love: Relay for Life returns Saturday

This weekend several people in Hood River will be saved from a premature death. Several more neighbors will be spared surgeries. Your own father or mother may be given 30 extra years of life.

These are the potential impacts of every step taken during Saturday’s 24-hour Relay for Life being held at the Hood River County Fairgrounds, kicking off at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The American Cancer Society fundraiser, coordinated by a large group of volunteers, will translate into very real and life-saving results for many people living in Hood River.

For the 200-plus walkers participating in the 2012 event, there are at least 200 corresponding stories of how cancer research and support have changed local people’s lives.

Every team member walks with hope. Every team member also walks with fear and sadness, but together, battling the immobilizing potential of the negatives with the powerful weapon of determination, each team brings about a very tangible result — increased research and support funding — which equals real progress in the war on cancer.

The event itself combines fun activities, memorials, walking, talking, camping and sharing meals. Some teams of people camp out for the overnight event — because according to organizers, “cancer never sleeps.”

For those who aren’t able to participate in a full 24-hour-commitment, opening ceremonies and the popular “Survivor Lap” will take place at 10:30 a.m. where cancer survivors are joined by family and friends in honoring their battles.

Both a silent and live auction will be featured at this year’s Relay, offering supporters a chance to bid on and win donated arts, dinners, sports gear and other items.

In the evening the beautiful and moving Luminaria Ceremony is scheduled for 10 p.m. Friends or family of cancer survivors or victims may light a personalized luminaria (candle-lit, decorated bags) after dusk.

According to former Relay Chair, Terry Joyner, last year’s 31 teams and corporate sponsors brought in over $91,000 for the local charity.

The American Cancer Society has a 5 percent overhead cost as an organization, meaning 95 percent of any donation goes directly into treatment research.

In the last 25 years, ACS has helped push the five-year post-cancer survival rate up to 68 percent. Both cancer incidence and mortality rates have also improved due to ACS research.

Anyone interested in supporting individuals or teams at the event can come out to the county fairgrounds anytime between 9 a.m. July 21 through 9 a.m. July 22.

There are many ways to support this community-wide effort.

Donations will be accepted at the registration tables. Supporters may walk a lap with an official participant.

Check to see how to participate in the annual “Locks of Love” donation program — allowing those who have long hair destined for a trim, to help cancer victims who suffer from hair loss, by giving their locks to be made into wigs.

Those wishing to donate funds who can’t drop by in person may use the website donation system at:

www@relayforlife.org/columbiagorgeor.

n

Full schedule of activities:

n Saturday –

10 a.m. Opening ceremonies, keynote speaker

10:30 a.m. Survivor lap

11 a.m. Barbecue lunch, 11 a.m. silent auction #1

12:30 p.m. White Salmon Jazz Band/Locks of Love haircuts

1:30 p.m. Air guitar contest

2 p.m. Live auction and silent auction #2

3:30 p.m. Mr. Relay contest

4 p.m. Music with Mr. DJ & ice cream social

5 p.m. Wet T-shirt contest

5:30 p.m. Scavenger hunt

6 p.m. Belly dancers, barbecue dinner, silent auction #3

6:30 p.m. Spanish dancers

7-9 p.m. Providence Band

9 p.m. Kids pajama lap

9:30 p.m. Evening speaker

10-11:30 p.m. Luminaria ceremony

11:30 p.m. Adult pajama lap, Movies in the Park and 11 overnight team activities scheduled every half-hour until 6 a.m.

n Sunday –

6 a.m. Soroptomist breakfast

8:30 a.m. Final lap for all participants

8:45 a.m. Closing ceremony

9 a.m. Tear down, clean up, head home

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