MOSES LAKE — It might have been a smaller crowd than usual, but the Moses Lake Relay for Life still raised more than $30,000 for the fight against cancer by the time of the relay Friday night.
There were more donations pending, but co-chair Josie Sisson said Moses Lake had raised $35,605 by relay night. Donations for the 2019 relay are accepted through Aug. 31.
“This is our 31st year of Relay for Life,” Sisson said. Proceeds from the relay go to the American Cancer Society and are used to pay for research into treating and curing cancer. The ACS also provides grants to local organizations to support people fighting cancer.
Sisson has personal experience with cancer. “I took care of my dad,” she said, and 26 months after her dad died, her daughter was diagnosed with cancer.
The relay is designed to “raise those all-important research dollars,” Sisson said, and she had personal experience with the impact of that research. Some of her daughter’s medication was the result of research funded from the proceeds of Relay for Life, she said. Her daughter is a 12-year survivor.
The relay was held on the longest day of the year, but “the longest day is the day somebody tells you that you have cancer,” Carolann Swartz said. Swartz is a 34-year cancer survivor, and has been participating in the Moses Lake relay since its inception. “We’ve raised a heck of a lot of money out of Moses Lake,” she said.
Cancer survivors and cancer patients walked a lap around the exhibit halls at the Grant County Fairgrounds to start the relay. After the first lap team members had the option of walking throughout the evening, and some did.
Cindi Jackson was part of the survivor lap. Jackson, a teacher at Midway Elementary, was diagnosed with cancer in November 2018.
Jackson said she would advise people to “advocate for yourself.” Her mammograms came back negative, but the cancer was there and was found during an MRI, which she requested.
She finished her treatment in May. “I was just told I’m in remission and they’re expecting me to stay that way,” she said.
Along the way she found a lot of support she hadn’t expected, she said. Moses Lake School District employees donated sick leave, some anonymously. The Columbia Basin Cancer Foundation provided emotional and financial support. “Strangers would stop us in parking lots and pray for us,” she said.
People who want to donate to Relay for Life 2019 can contact co-organizer Donna Anderson at 509-989-3114.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.