One Night Of Friends, Fun And Laps Can Help Save A Life

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by Gina Bourdage

The 25th annual American Cancer Society’s 2009 “Relay For Life” kick-off happened last Wednesday (Jan. 21st) at Highline Medical Center.

The evening began with hors d’oeuvres from Sal’s Deli and music from the group “Critical Mass,” a local jazz band comprised of some very talented members from the Burien community, including doctors from Highline Medical Center.

Entering its fourth year in Burien, “Relay For Life” gathered together team leaders, board members and local businesses to go over the goals for the June 13th – 14th event at Highline Stadium. Involvement in the “Relay For Life” provides lifesaving support for the American Cancer Society and programs.

Contributions and fundraising allow much-needed programs and efforts to be funded in the advancement for a cure, while sustaining ongoing efforts for survivors and families of cancer. Each team spends one day and one night celebrating and remembering those whose lives have been affected by cancer and provides them a way to fight back.

Margie Rodriguez, a two-time cancer survivor, was on hand to speak about what having cancer has done to change her perspective on life:

“It has taught me how to live. To enjoy the moment.”

Each year 3.5 million people in more than 4,900 communities participate. This year Burien has 11 teams signed up to participate and are looking for more. Last year the Highline Community had more than 515 register participants and raised more than $85,000. Four year participant and team captain of team Fam Damily, Patty Murray was present this year for the kick off 2009. Last year Murray’s team raised more than $10,000 through efforts from handmade painted pots sold for $5 each and garage sales.

Other teams include:

  • The City of Burien
  • City of Sea Tac
  • Aviation High School
  • Mt Rainer High School
  • Many more

The event coordinators are hoping to have competitions between each city and high school team, however they are not all represented yet… (clearing throat voice Evergreen High School among others).

The event will start with a survivor’s lap and the evening will continue with music, entertainment and refreshments. Each team will take turns having at least one member on the track for the relay up to 24 hours. As the sun sets over campsites and darkness falls, the night is brightened by the glow of illuminated bags called luminaria, each of which has a special meaning. Some celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer and have lived to tell their stories. Many remember the lives of those who have been lost to this disease. All represent someone special who has been profoundly affected by cancer and the family and friends who continue to fight back in their honor.

This year the overall fundraising goal is $95,000.

Will you be part of helping the fight for a cure? To participate, become a team captain or make a volunteer or monetary contribution please contact:

Gary McNeil
Event Co-Chair
Email: [email protected]
Phone 206.390.3184


Kelly Cochran
American Cancer Society
Email: [email protected]

For more information on Relay For Life visit

Here’s a video with some more information:

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One Response to “One Night Of Friends, Fun And Laps Can Help Save A Life”
  1. Vern M. says:

    I love Ms. Murray's team's name!! I wonder if, as the“target=”_blank”>team captain, she got to choose that one. It sure doesn't sound like a normal team name for a charity event, but I think it's incredibly funny. My friends used to say that all the time!

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