Relay caps fundraisers for cancer research, programs

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WALLA WALLA - The 14th Annual Relay for Life took place this Friday and Saturday at Martin Field.

The 24-hour event is the culmination of a number of community fundraisers, corporate sponsorships and close to 50 teams, which together raised close to $65,000 this year for cancer research and other programs, event chair Kim Porter said.

Around this time of year, more than 5,000 similar Relay for Life events will take place globally.

Locally, the event included a survivor's lap kick-off at 6 p.m. on Friday, followed by the lighting of approximately 800 luminaria at dusk, a silent auction, two street dances downtown on Friday and Saturday night, 24 hours of round-the-clock lap walking and overnight camping at Martin Field by many of the team members.

Betty Lewis of Seattle is a cancer survivor who has done the walk for the past several years, both here and on the West Side.

As expected, Lewis said Seattle's Relay for Life is much bigger; it also starts on Saturday morning and ends the next day.

She also noted that it wasn't until she personally saw her own name on the field that she became emotionally overwhelmed at the event.

"Somebody put a bag there for me. It said, ‘Survivor. You Rock.' That's when it hit me, I could have died," Lewis said.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

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