Relay for Life of Kent raises nearly $200,000 for cancer research | Slide Show

The Relay for Life of Kent has raised nearly $200,000 so far to support cancer research after nearly 1,600 people attended the 13th annual event last weekend at French Field.

Regan Wood

Regan Wood

The Relay for Life of Kent has raised nearly $200,000 so far to support cancer research after nearly 1,600 people attended the 13th annual event last weekend at French Field.

Ninety-eight teams with nearly 1,000 members registered for the relay that started at 6 p.m. June 3 and ran until noon June 4. The event has raised $199,500 so far for the American Cancer Society. Donations can still be made over the next few months at Donations are expected to well exceed $200,000.

“It was good weather which was amazing because it rained until the event,” said Heather Shaw, co-chair of The Relay for Life of Kent.

The Country Club Village People team from an East Hill neighborhood has raised more than $26,700 so far, the largest amount of any team. Team Hartnett ranks second with more than $15,400 followed by P.A.C.K. (Prudential Northwest Realty) at more than $10,800.

The top individual fundraisers include Kathy McFarlane, of The Country Club Village People, at more than $5,700; Suzanne Hartnett, of Team Hartnett, at more than $3,600; and Barb Drumheller, of The Country Club Village People, at more than $2,300.

Among the highlights at this year’s relay were the new LED balloons as part of the Luminaria Ceremony. Participants could purchase the balloons for $7 each as part of The Country Club Village People’s fundraiser to be floated above the field during the ceremony.

“They were amazing,” Shaw said of the lighted balloons. “They were everywhere. No other event has done them. They sold over 200 of them.”

During the ceremony, paper bags containing lit votive candles were set out around the edge of the track. Each bag bears the name of a person fighting cancer, or a loved one lost to the disease. People then read off the names from the luminaria.

Guest singer Nisha Daniels gave a moving rendition of the Lady Antebellum song “Never Alone” during the ceremony. Daniels is a member The Relay for Life team from the Seattle Mar Thoma Church of Kent.

“Everybody wanted to know who was that,” Shaw said of the singer.

Participants were kept entertained throughout the relay with deejay music as well as interactive events such as dancing to the “Hokey Pokey” and trying sumo wrestling. About 30 people also took part in a morning boot camp exercise.

“It was pretty fun entertainment,” Shaw said. “We had a new deejay that everybody loved and some new and different activities.”

For more information about the American Cancer Society, visit

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