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Relay for Life of CK reaches donation record

An estimated 1,500 people took part in this year’s relay at Memorial Stadium. - Photo by Jesse Beals
An estimated 1,500 people took part in this year’s relay at Memorial Stadium.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Temperatures soared into the 80s last weekend, but that didn’t stop CK Relay for Life participants from raising a record amount of donations for the fight against cancer.

The 24-hour fund-raising event has continuously seen an increase in donations and this year was no different.

At the conclusion of last weekend’s festivities at the Bremerton High School track located inside Memorial Stadium, donations reached $165,000 — a new record for Relay for Life of Central Kitsap. That number is expected to increase as funds received online have not yet been tallied. Donations also are being accepted through August which will add to the total.

“We still have money coming in,” said event chair Laurie Neal. “We’ll probably be closer to $170,000.”

Neal estimates there were about 1,500 people who attended the event including 59 registered teams, surpassing last year’s team total by nine.

Although there was an increase, Neal said they lost about 18 teams from last year.

“We regenerated more, but we would have had even more if the teams would have stuck around,” she said.

The event also saw more cancer survivors walking the traditional first lap.

“We had about 200 survivors,” Neal said. “We probably doubled (compared to) last year.”

And despite the heat, the event went off without a hitch, according to Neal.

“It was pretty warm, but everyone was pretty good about using sunscreen and drinking plenty of water,” she explained.

There was only one person who had some issues with the heat, she added.

Her husband Tony, a co-chair for the event, continued his yearly tradition of walking 50 miles at the event.

“Every year it seems to get easier for him,” she said. “It’s his fourth year. He’s recovered well.”

This year Tony was joined by six others who were determined to reach 50 miles.

“A lot don’t get sponsorship for 50 miles ... but it’s pretty cool to see people doing it,” Laurie said.

Relay participant Dennis Baldus also succeeded in reaching his goal of walking for the entire 24 hours, something he started last year.

“It was a great, successful event,” Laurie said. “Everyone’s charged for next year.”

Sandy Collins of Land Title and Escrow in Bremerton will be taking over next year as the new chair. Although the Neals are moving to Texas, Laurie says they will definitely be back each year for the event so Tony can walk 50 miles.

“We’re so excited to see the (event’s) growth and hope it continues as the years go by with support from the community,” Laurie said.

Donations can still be made online at www.cancer.org.

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