PUBLISHED: 5:46 PM on Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Relaying for the cause
Annual event to raise money for cancer research
An outlook of hope is what those participating in Relay For Life seek and find.

The annual event to raise money for the American Cancer Society is in its fifth year in Juneau, and it's not too early to get started for the July 15 event.

Chairperson Pat Yearty, who assisted in bringing RFL to Juneau as part of a breast cancer support group, said the first relay consisted of 14 teams and raising $22,000.

She said last year saw more than 20 teams and $60,000. However, the event is about more than the money.

"These people are not just walking out there and raising money. They are saving lives," Yearty said. "If that money we raise goes to help save one person, it's worth it."

Yearty said both of her parents died from cancer and she is cancer survivor so the event has special importance to her.

While RFL is a time for remembrance, it's also a time for honoring and celebrating cancer survivors.

"I've walked the walk. Cancer impacts your whole life. It takes a toll on a family. One of the great connections for people is Relay," Yearty said.

"It's very heart warming and at the same time heart breaking."

Teams are not limited to a number of people and any group or organization may form a team, said team chairperson Rowena Reeves.

"People can sign up right up to the end," Reeves said.

Teams raise funds for the American Cancer Society leading up to the event, then members walk the track at Diamond Park from 4 p.m. July 15 - 8 a.m. July 16.

Reeves said she initially got involved with RFL before her sister was diagnosed and later died of cancer, and now has a personal connection with the event.

"I'm really grateful that I've been involved," Reeves said. "Now I'm hooked on Relay For Life, and it's such a great cause."

For more information about forming a team, call Reeves at 364-4440.