Participants this year at The Relay for Life of Kent blew away expectations of event organizers by raising more than $222,000 June 4-5 at French Field to support cancer research.
Organizers set a goal to raise $195,000 this year, similar to the amount hit in 2009.
“We completely shattered our goals,” said Lance Goodwin, event chairman, during a phone interview June 7. “That’s pretty exciting for us.”
Nearly 1,400 participants on 96 teams walked in the 12th annual Relay for Life of Kent June 4-5 at French Field at Kent-Meridian High School. That was 11 more teams than organizers anticipated when they planned for the event at the start of the year.
“It’s a good year for us if we go up a few thousand dollars and we were up nearly $30,000 over our goal,” Goodwin said.
Along with numerous teams that returned to participate in The Relay for Life, several new teams joined the annual fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. The relay started at 6 p.m. June 4 and ended at noon June 5. Team members traded off walking around the French Field track throughout the night.
“We had 11 more teams than last year so that’s a lot of new teams,” Goodwin said of the jump in donations. “Teams really went at it.”
A neighborhood group called the Country Club Village People raised more than $20,000, Goodwin said of the top donation by a team. The Prudential’s Aggressive Cancer Kickers raised $13,000 while The Exotic Solution raised $12,000.
The Exotic Solution was a first-year team formed by employees of Exotic Metals Forming Co., a Kent business that specializes in making high-strength sheet metal designs and fabrications for the aerospace industry.
“A first-year team sometimes goes gangbusters,” Goodwin said.
The word certainly seems to be spreading about the Kent event.
“We always try to reach new people,” Goodwin said. “The Kent Chamber of Commerce and everyone spreads the word about the Relay for Life.”
Survivors kicked off the relay by walking the first lap followed by caregivers on the second lap and local heroes on the third lap. The local heroes included firefighters, police officers and military.
At dusk, the Luminaria Ceremony of Hope took place. During the ceremony, paper bags containing lit votive candles were set out around the edge of the track. Each bag had the name of a person fighting cancer, or a loved one lost to the disease. People then read aloud the names from the luminaria.
Goodwin said the weather doesn’t really impact fundraising, but the event had the nicest weather of the week.
“It rained everyday prior to Friday (June 4) and then stopped Friday at noon,” Goodwin said. “It stayed clear and then started to rain again Sunday after we were done. There is something special about how it cleared up for us.”
But not quite as special as all of the money raised.
“A lot of people, sadly, are touched by cancer,” Goodwin said. “But when they hear about the Relay for Life they know they can do something to help through fundraising.”
Donations are still being accepted. To make a donation and for more information, go to www.rflkent.org.
For more information about the American Cancer Society, visit www.cancer.org.