Relay for Life event back on

Cancer Fundraiser shortened to a mini-walk

— The plethora of summer fires blanketing the Yakima Valley and much of the state in smoke caused the cancelled of the 2017 Relay for Life of the Lower Valley 24-hour fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society in September.

Organizers are planning a modified mini-walk to be held from 6-9 p.m. Nov. 13, at the Sunnyside Community Center, 1521 S. First Street.

Now nearly two months later, the event is back on, said Community Development Manager Joel Bouchey, but on a much smaller scale.

A luminaria followed by a catered dinner is planned for the attendees, he said.

Because of the change in format, he is asking that team members call in to save a spot.

Bouchey said teams who had originally planned to participate in the Sept. 9, event can call him at 509-783-1574, ext. 20 to attend.

“We are not sure how many of our original team members will be able to participate at this event,” he said.

“We encourage people to continue turning in donations at the event. We hope to see a similar turn out to our original Relay registration in September,” Bouchey said.

Bouchey said the local organizers are currently projecting donations of more than $20,000.

“We encourage people to continue turning in donations at the event, Bouchey said.

“It is never too late to raise funds for your team,” he said.

He said currently registered teams and new participants are both welcome until “…we reach capacity.”

The Relay originally planned for the on the high school track, has been canceled due to unhealthy air.

At the time, Bouchey, said organizers would look for an alternative, maybe indoors, but the availability of such locations at the time were few.

The American Cancer Society event, organized under the auspices of the Sunnyside Community Hospital, had attracted 22 teams of walkers.

In September Bouchey said that pledges already collected would go on to the Cancer Society.

“We were less worried about the money,” Bouchey said. “Our concern was safety and health.”

That didn’t mean the fundraiser was dead. Bouchey continued to work to find a date when the relay could be held. He said the teams should be rewarded for their effort.

Bouchey said any survivors who attend the event, will receive their Relay for Life shirts.

This was the second year the 24-hour fund-raiser had to be cancelled due to adverse weather. Last year the event was cut short due to an electrical storm and heavy rain.

The event usually draws several hundred supporters in addition to raising thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society campaign.

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