Relay for Life raises $25,000+

<I>PHOTO PROVIDED</I><BR>Local volunteers raised more than $25,000 for cancer research at last weekend's Relay for Life event.

ILWACO - The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life was a huge success Friday night and Saturday, according to event chair Janet Mossman. More people turned out than expected, and the goal of $25,000 was surpassed.

The event began with opening ceremonies presented by Laurel Anderson and a welcome from Ilwaco Mayor Ed Leonard. The color guard from U.S. Coast Guard, Cape Disappointment presented the flag, and Josie Wright sang the national anthem.

Pastor Tom Inserra of the Upper Room Fellowship gave the opening prayer, and William Shelton played the bagpipes as the cancer survivors took the first lap. For the following 18 hours, until 1 p.m. the next afternoon, more than 80 individuals took turns walking for their respective teams.

Many people not affiliated with any team also walked the track in support of the cause. Ocean Beach Hospital CEO Jim Robertson was on hand to support his team although not an official member.

Others walked to encourage others, including many who took the track in the middle of the night to support an individual. Mavis Shucka, a long-time employee of The Bank of the Pacific [BP], was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her husband, Frank, walking as part of the BP team took his scheduled place on the track at 3:30 a.m. Shucka was joined by close to 50 people showing their support for Mavis.

The show of support by the team from the Bank of the Pacific, calling themselves the Boppin' Boppers, landed them the award for Most Team Spirit. The team also raised more than $7,000 earning the Top Team Fund-raiser Award.

Lora Wooten of Ocean Beach Hospital took home the prize for top individual fundraiser while Kathy Moore won the best individual spirit award. The Peninsula Blue Jays received the award for best youth fundraiser, and the Sentry Surfers from Okie's Sentry Market took home the award for the best decorated campsite.

Mossman said the event was considered a success, and she hopes next year even more money will be raised and more people will get involved.

"Nobody fizzled out," she said. "People even came out to walk with people, to keep them company. That kind of support for the cause is really impossible to measure."

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