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Relay Time: Take steps for cancer research

Relay for Life returns next month, to its original location, HRVHS, after a three-year sojourn at Hood River County Fairgrounds. Every location has its merits but it calls to mind the adage, “The journey is more important than the destination.” Those involved focus more on the purpose than anything else.

“No finish line until we find a cure” is one motto of the American Cancer Society event.

Relay will be July 20-21, and while it may be about a month away, this is still the time to be thinking about, and supporting, Relay for Life. Teams walk for 24 hours in support of cancer research and funding to assist families and survivors of all forms of cancer.

There’s a sort of a carnival air to the event, with games, costumes, food, music and other fun aspects. But overall it is a solemn event, one in which people of this community, including many people currently battling cancer, take real steps together to raise funds and raise awareness. It is truly important work, for an organization that has a record of ensuring that funds go where they are intended.

What is needed now are people to take the path of support, be it as walkers or donors. Here are three ways:

n Teams are still being formed (call Veronica Moline at 541-490-1722 for details.)

n Purchase a light for the Luminaria ceremony.

The event at the heart of the event is when the track is encircled with lights, luminaria, placed to honor the memory of someone who has passed or is affected by the disease. The lights represent hope and courage for those who continue to fight cancer. Luminaria can be purchased via Relay for Life of the Columbia Gorge, 0330 S.W. Curry St., Portland, OR 97239, or contact Anita or Chey at 541-399-2130.

n Join the Survivors Walk. This is the stirring beginning of every Relay. Purple-shirted survivors are joined by friends and family for the first walk of the relay. It’s a chance for all involved to express, and draw, encouragement for relay and for the months and years ahead.

If you are a survivor and wish to participate, contact Angela Balzer at 541-490-4343.

For any details about Columbia Gorge Relay, go to www.relayforlifeorg./ColumbiaGorgeOR

You don’t need to have cancer, or know anyone who does, to get involved in Relay. The event has seen a decline in overall participation in the last few years, but the spirit and enthusiasm for it have only increased. Survivors, family members, and those who organize the annual event deserve the support of the community, in whatever way individuals, businesses and organizations can help.

Looking ahead to the return to the track that is Relay’s location, May the Oval Be Unbroken.

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