First the race, then the relay against cancer

Race for Life, Relay for the Cure.

Er, wait. That’s not right. We’ve participated in both events for the cause of cancer research and treatment over the years – that’s Relay for Life, and Race for the Cure – and sometimes even we get their names turned around.

Islanders may find themselves in similar straits, with the recent announcement that the American Cancer Society will stage this community’s first-ever Relay for Life event here in July. The news coincides with signups for the already established and highly popular Race for the Cure, a Seattle event that draws hundreds of Bainbridge participants each year. So we can all keep the two events straight, a primer may be in order:

The 13th annual Race for the Cure – slated this year for June 17 in downtown Seattle – is organized by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, specifically benefiting research, education, screening and treatment for breast cancer.

The event has enjoyed strong support from islanders through the patronage of Town & Country Markets since 1995, when “team mom” Ellen Nakata, a breast cancer survivor, led a group of friends and neighbors numbering about 70 in a walk from Seattle’s sports venues over the viaduct and back.

Since that time, the T&C team has swelled to more than 1,000 participants in a given year, folks who turn out for the half-dozen running and walking events that revolve around Qwest Stadium.

Signups for this year’s Race for the Cure event run 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Friday and Saturday and again May 26-27 at T&C and other markets in the supermarket chain, or you can register online at www.komentpugetsound.org. This year’s team members get T-shirts, numbers, a pink “Together” wrist band and that distinctive purple baseball cap that helps you find each other in the downtown throng. Beyond the day-of-race events, islanders can support the cancer research cause by signing up for the fifth annual “Team Town & Country Quilt” raffle. Dubbed “Pieces of the Past,” this year’s queen-sized quilt has been cobbled together from remnants of past years’ creations.

Raffle tickets can be purchased through June 17, with the drawing to take place at 4 p.m. June 22 at Central Market in Poulsbo.

New to the island this summer will be the Relay for Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, running (and walking) from 4 p.m. July 29 until 10 a.m. on July 30 at the Bainbridge High School track. Team members will take turns lapping the track, and each team keeps at least one team member going at all times during this overnight “because cancer never sleeps.” Expect live music and good food in a community campout atmosphere.

Similar relays are held in hundreds of communities around the nation, and have been well attended around Kitsap; now it’s the island’s turn. Volunteers are needed to get the relay off the ground, and neighborhoods, businesses and service clubs can support the cause and get some good exercise by forming teams. Event chairs are Dawna Kramer at raddjk@yahoo.com or Mary Clipsham at mtb566@msn.com. (206) 780-0714, with more information available at the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org.

The fight against cancer is solemn, but the Race for the Cure and Relay for Life – got them straight this time – are all about hope. Take part.

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