The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Tony Gorman
For the Star 

Relay for Life raises over $20,000 to support American Cancer Society

Overnight event highlights struggles and victories in fight for a cure


Tony Gorman photo

Good-hearted walkers circled the Kelsey Dock overnight to raise funds to fight cancer in the 2017 Relay for Life.

Darth Vader joined the rebellion - in hopes of bringing lights of hope to a dark subject.

He was part of the 14th Annual American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. The theme was Join the Rebellion and nine teams and roughly 362 people participated in an effort to raise funds to help those fighting cancer.

Individuals and teams camped out from 6:00 p.m. Friday to noon the following day at the Kelsey Dock Parking lot to support the overnight walk-a-thon.

While it is a fundraising event of its own, participants held other events leading up to Relay for Life. Event chair Jenette Vlasoff said this year, the teams stepped up in sponsoring those events.

"This year, the teams had their own fundraisers. We almost had a fundraiser each month with many of those reaching $1,000 with each of their fundraisers," Vlasoff said. "In the past, we've done more of a community-type fundraiser throughout leading up to the big event."

Tony Gorman photo

Darth Vader was a good guy and helped raise fund for Relay for Life.

Survivors and caregivers kicked things off by walking the first lap of the event, and later, the luminaria ceremony lit up the night. Each luminaria bag represented a loved one lost due to cancer or those fighting cancer related disease. During the rest of the time, special activities were held such as Zumba, pajama hour, yoga, and costume contests. There was plenty for the younger set, such as a bike rodeo, bingo and carnival games. The dogs even got in on the action as well with when they walked in the Bark for Life hour.

Even though the main event is over, the fundraising continues.

"Relay for Life doesn't stop here. Relay for Life goes on now until the end of August. And, all of the teams can contribute to making this a valuable event itself," event organizer Doug Desorcie said. "Valdez has always been contributory towards this and there will be many more fundraisers to come."

Overall, Relay for Life of Valdez raised over $21,000. The team from Copper Valley Telecom Walkers was the top fundraiser, raising over $6,700.

Funds raised help cancer patients and their families with expenses, as well as contribute to other causes supported by the American Cancer Society.


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