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Relay for Life launches Saturday

Sid White Field will take on a festive air in the fight against cancer this Saturday and Sunday as the 24-hour Relay for Life event returns to The Dalles.

Opening ceremonies start at 10 a.m., followed by the survivor and caregiver lap at 10:30. Team laps begin at 11.

“As of Bank Night [June 12] we had about $30,000,” said organizer Marilyn Wong, despite a drop in the number of teams to 20. That figure is about half of the $60,000 usually collected by the annual event, but a big chunk of the final figure comes in on relay days.

“We encourage people to come out and bid for the silent auction, buy tickets to the raffles and have dinner,” Wong said. All three activities add to the total donation. Silent auction bidding runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Among the raffle prizes are two one-night stays at Cannon beach, a one-night stay in “The Barn” at Cousins Country Inn, camping gear, a gift basket, two quilts and cash prizes in a wheel spin.

A variety of entertainment is planned throughout the day including line dancing with Dannette at 11 a.m.; an acoustic performance by Jeff Carrel and Tracy Klas and apple bobbing both at noon; belly dancing with Desiree and Company, Pantene locks cutting and face painting at 1 p.m.; a wet T-shirt contest at 2; water balloon toss at 2:30; piano with Ted Horowitz at 4; Tri-Tip dinner at 5; a lip sync/talent show at 6:30; the Mr. Relay Contest at 7; yoga at 8; and an ice cream social at 8:30.

“Mr. Relay was really popular last year,” Wong said. “I think we will have quite a few contestants this year. All the teams are trying to talk guys into doing it.”

Mr. Relay is chosen based on the contestant who raises the most money. An audience choice selection is also chosen, so costumes and entertainment are also part of the event.

Relay activities take a quiet turn at 9 p.m. as set-up begins for the luminaria ceremony, which honors people who died of cancer. Team laps discontinue at 9:45 and the luminary ceremony begins at 10 with the reading of names and lighting of candles.

Activities lighten up after that with a pajama contest and smores bar at 11, followed by lap poker from midnight to 5 a.m. Sunday. Sunrise breakfast dawns at 7, followed by raffle drawings at 8 and closing ceremonies at 8:30.

All the fanfare and festivity helps raise money for the American Cancer Society, some of which returns the area to benefit local residents stricken with cancer and their families.

Last year Cancer Society provides 113 services in the Wasco, Klickitat and Sherman County area to 41 patients and caregivers.

Those services included fuel assistance, lodging, Look Good Feel Better and Reach to Recovery. Local residents also accessed the toll-free American Cancer Society phone number for information, including 36 from Wasco County, 29 from Klickitat County and three from Sherman County. They also logged in to cancer.org, Wong said, including 1,700 in Wasco County, 1,446 in Klickitat County and 121 in Sherman County.

“So people are using those resources,” Wong said.

Local people also connected with the Cancer Survivor Netowrk, 369 in Wasco County, 320 in Klickitat County and 27 in Sherman County.

“We also have two patient navigators at Legacy Good Samaritan and OHSU, Wong said. “They will help with finding resources and information about the disease, and help connect people to programs while they are under going treatment.”

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