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Relay for Life walks on despite the heat
Christie Burrer walked for her Aunt Nancy.
Lou and Olivia Short walked for their grandmother, Louisa Crouse and their mother, Robin Short.
And Genean Page, an oncology nurse, walked for all her patients.
Despite their motivations and reasons, more than 700 people came out Saturday and Sunday to walk in the Central Kitsap-Bremerton Relay for Life. The relay, which went from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday had 719 registered walkers and more than 1,000 attending, said Vickilynn Hosmer, events chairperson.
"We're having a great relay," said Hosmer at midday Saturday. "It's hot, but people don't really care. They're walking and they're having fun."
Hosmer said because of the heat, walkers were being reminded to drink plenty of fluids, take shade breaks and wear their sunscreen.
In fact, many groups, including Harrison Medical Center, were on hand with free SP 80 sunscreen for anyone who was out ant the relay.
A group of nurses from Harrison Bremerton Hematology and Oncology department were walking and monitoring their booth alongside the track at Olympic High school where the relay was held.
"We're here walking for our patients," said Genean Page. "We're taking a moment to walk in their shoes."
All of the 48 people on the team wore t-shirts that read: "Loving our Patients," on the front and "Supporting the Fighters, Admiring the Survivors, and Honoring the Angels," on the back.
Page said she sees patients everyday fighting cancer and by walking, she hopes that her patients know how much she and the Harrison team are hoping and working for a cure.
The Short sisters were a part of a team called "Tom and Friends" who walked for family members.
"Our grandmother died 16 years ago of brain cancer," said Lou Page. "We're walking for her. And for our mother, who had stomach cancer, but is a survivor. She's here walking, today, too."
Burrer was walking to honor and remember her aunt Nancy Stadshaug-Segerman, who died in Feb. 17 of this year at age 63 of lung cancer.
"She was very special to me," Burrer said. "We've got 15-plus family members out here walking to honor her."
The heat was tough, she said, "but there's a nice breeze."
Their group was certain they'd make it for the full 24-hours and planned to partake in some of the special events such as walking to the themes of pajamas, cowboy get-up and the Mr. Relay competition.
Included with that team were Mickey Mouse, also known as Amy Stadshaug, and Minnie Mouse, Amy's mother, Susan Stadshaug, dressed up for Relay for Life's Disney theme.
The pair were walking for Team Stadshaug-Segerman, named in memory of Nancy Segerman. The mouse costumes were made by Susan for Halloween "a long time ago," she said.
"Like, 20 years ago," Amy Stadshaug added.
Brian Segerman, Nancy's son, came up with the idea of organizing a team for Relay for Life in memory of his mother. The team raised more than $5,000.
Segerman was overwhelmed by the support, and said the relay would now become an annual event for his family.
"I'm almost speechless. I'm amazed," he said, choking back tears. "My mom meant a lot to a lot of people. At the funeral home, they said it was the most people they'd ever seen."
His mother was as humble as she was loved, he said.
"She always put everyone in front of herself. We know she'd be telling us, 'This is too much!" he said as he looked around the team's encampment.
During the event, some walkers took the opportunity to play musical chairs in the center of the football field. Others checked into the Locks of Love stand where they had their hair cut and gave it as a donation for human hair wigs for cancer patients.
There were hotdogs and barbecue to buy and eat and there was an espresso stand. Some of the booths around the track sold trinkets and t-shirts and even ribbon necklaces for a $3 donation to the cause and then a bead for each lap that the walker walked.
Relay for Life is an annual fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. To find out more, go to www.relayforlifeofbremerton.org. Results including how much was raised will be posted.