Relay for Life honors cancer survivors

The kickoff ceremony is one to bring tissues to, said Dick Mayer, chairman of the Relay for Life event in Federal Way.

This annual event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, begins with the infamous "survivor lap" at 4 p.m. July 14. Survivors of cancer are asked to walk, ride in their wheelchair or cheer one another on as an estimated 300 people make their way around Federal Way Memorial Field.

After the cancer victims finish their lap, more than 30 teams will rush onto the field to begin their 20-hour walk, which ends at noon July 15. Not every member of the eight- to 12-person team will have to walk simultaneously, but they are asked to have one representative on the field at all times.

Themed laps will occur at certain intervals throughout the event to keep it fun and interesting for participants in the younger crowd, Mayer said. Kids may enjoy the glow-in-the-dark lap, the trick-or-treat lap, pajama lap, bubble-blowing lap or Frisbee-throwing lap.

The most meaningful and pictorial event will occur around 10 p.m., when participants are encouraged to purchase a luminary bag and attach a picture of a loved one who has suffered from cancer, Mayer said.

These bags will encircle the track. Girl Scouts and Campfire Girls will light a small candle in each one. In the center of the field, some bags will spell out the words "cure" and "hope" as a reminder of the spirit of the event.

The funds raised by each team go toward the American Cancer society in its efforts to find a cure for cancer and provide hospice care for sufferers.

The committee that organized the Federal Way Relay for Life hopes to reach $150,000 in donations, through both the relay teams and sponsorship by local companies. Many people have done car washes, wine-tasting parties and bunco nights in addition to asking for pledges.

"As long as it's legal, we don't care how they raise it," Mayer said.

Contact Lyndsey Wilson: or (253) 925-5565.

Get involved

Relay for Life will accept team registrations until the event begins. Call Dick Mayer at (253) 941-0561 or the American Cancer Society at (800)ACS-2345 for more information.

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