Despite thick fog, cold temperatures and a fine mist, about 100 people participated in a fine cause, gathering Saturday morning in Lacey for a “pre-event” to next June’s American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Thurston County.
Event chair Dawn Gadwa called Saturday’s gathering at Timberline High School a “tailgate kickoff” to next year’s walk, which will take place June 27-28 at Timberline.
This year’s event, in which about 75 teams walked for 24 hours, raised $350,000, she said. Next year’s goal is $375,000.
Among those at the kickoff were the three largest Thurston County fundraising teams: Team Cameron, Cupcake Mafia and Connolly’s Crew, including “crew” member Tori Fairhurst of Olympia. She addressed the audience and talked about her mother, Mary, who died from breast cancer at age 63 in 1999.
Fairhurst, 48, said during and after her speech that the walk is a “perfect way to honor my mother” and that the cancer walk “helps heal my broken heart.
“When she stopped breathing, I felt like I stopped breathing,” Fairhurst told the audience about their final moments together.
Fairhurst added that her sister currently is cancer-free. She also said that “cancer is the battle I want to fight.”
Gadwa said the county continues to move up the fundraising ranks.
After the walk in 2013, the county rose from No. 5 to No. 2 in the state, behind the Tacoma walk.
The relay was launched in Tacoma in 1985 by colorectal surgeon Gordon Klatt and has since gone global.
Next year’s event is the 25th anniversary of the walk in Thurston County, Gadwa said.
For more information about the walk, go to relayforlifeofthurston.org.