Cancer survivors and those wanting to fight back against a disease that has effected most everyone, in one way or another, gathered under clear and sunny skies Friday, May 29th at the Soldotna Sports Center to participate in the 18th annual Relay for Life of the Central Peninsula. In addition to multiple business supporters from all over the community, the event raised funds through a variety of different events. The traditional Survivor’s dinner was hosted by the Navarre family. Other events included a silent auction, team marketplace with tents filled with food and games and for the first time this year, the memory making pie throwing contest where for a five dollar contribution you could throw a cream pie at your favorite local celebrity.
Results of the new event while very sticky were extremely successful bringing in more than $1,285. “I want a huge shout out to Save U More for discounting the more than 40 cans of whipped cream that it took to make the event possible,” said Johna Beech who came up with the slap stick idea hosted by Team Hearts & Flowers. Celebrities include State Senator Peter Micciche, Kenai Mayor Pat Porter, Charlie Weimer – FNBA, Joe Gallagher – HEA, Michelle Glaves – Jack White Real Estate, Kenai Fire Marshall Tommy Carver, and Officer Tobin Brennan – Soldotna PD and Johna Beech, CEO for the Kenai Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center.
Relay for Life events began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Washington, ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Since then, Relay has grown from a single man’s passion to fight cancer into the world’s largest movement to end the disease. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities in the United States, along with additional communities in 20 other countries, gather to take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer. Thanks to Relay participants, the American Cancer Society continues to save lives, according to Carmen Triana Relay chairman this year.
Another highlight of the Relay this year was the luminary ceremony where the names of those who have lost their battle to cancer as well as those who continue to fight to survive are read and bags of remembrance are lite along the relay track in their memory. “We so appreciated the perfect weather this year after the hurricane velocity winds that blew everything down last year and forced us off the track early in Kenai, even the porta potties blew over,” laughed Carmen.
This year’s efforts, composed of 26 teams and 251 participants garnered nearly $44,000 so far this year according to Triana, “We are excited with the results but the campaign totals won’t be complete until August and anyone wishing to still donate can go to relayforlife.org/centralpeninsulaak and make a contribution to fight back against cancer. We won’t stop until we finish and cancer is dead,” she said.