Relay for Life of Kent cancer fundraiser runs June 3-4 at French Field

French Field at Kent-Meridian High School will fill up Friday and Saturday with more than 1,400 participants in the Relay for Life of Kent, the 13th annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society to support cancer research.

Barbara Dallosto

Barbara Dallosto

French Field at Kent-Meridian High School will fill up Friday and Saturday with more than 1,400 participants in the Relay for Life of Kent, the 13th annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society to support cancer research.

Ninety-eight teams signed up to participate in the event at Kent that is expected to raise as much as $225,000, according to projections by the American Cancer Society.

The Relay for Life of Kent raised more than $222,000 last year with nearly 1,400 participants on 96 teams.

The Country Club Village People team from an East Hill neighborhood already has raised more than $22,000, the most of any of the teams. Team Hartnett ranks second with more than $15,000 raised.

“The Country Club Village People are amazing,” said event co-chair Heather Shaw in an email. “The fundraising totals for them are not unusual for themselves personally. They have been with the event for many years and fundraise year-round. Many teams try hard to emulate them but to my knowledge, it hasn’t happened yet. They are neighbors who are passionate and strive hard to excel in beating their goals.”

Bender, from the KISS-FM’s 106.1 morning show, will be the guest speaker at the opening ceremony.

The relay starts at 6 p.m. Friday and ends at about noon Saturday. The participating relay teams include members who camp out at French Field and take turns walking or running around the track. Each team is slated to have at least one representative on the track at all times throughout the 18-hour relay.

Survivors kick 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 include firefighters, police officers and military.

At dusk, about 9:30 p.m. Friday, the Luminaria Ceremony of Hope takes place. During the ceremony, paper bags containing lit votive candles are set out around the edge of the track. Each bears the name of a person fighting cancer, or a loved one lost to the disease. People then begin reading off the names from the luminaria.

Participants and guests also will be able to purchase for $7 glowing LED balloons as part of the Luminaria Ceremony.

The Relay for Life campaign started in 1985 in Tacoma when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon, ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Since then, Relay for Life 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, according to the American Cancer Society.

For more information or to make a donation to the Relay for Life of Kent, go to

For more information about the American Cancer Society, visit

Relay for Life of Kent

What: Fundraiser for American Cancer Society

When: 6 p.m. Friday, June 3 to noon Saturday, June 4

Where: French Field, Kent-Meridian High School

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