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Marysville Tulalip Relay for Life raises $60,000 to fight cancer

 

Christopher Andersson

Survivors and caregivers begin the first lap of this year's Marysville Tulalip Relay for Life at the Tulalip Amphitheatre on June 25.

Numerous cancer survivors and other supporters helped to raise nearly $60,000 for the American Cancer Society at this year's Marysville Tulalip Relay for Life on June 25.

The annual Relays, which are held across the nation, raise funds for the ACS for their cancer research and support services for patients.

Ben Allen, co-chair of this year's event, said the event helps show support for those battling cancer.

"The little stuff you do is going to change someone's life," he said. "They've had to rebuild their lives and reinvent themselves. We all know we're going to die eventually, but to actively battle for it is way different," he said.

Cancer survivor Beverly Kazmi spoke at the event and talked about her own experiences.

"On Memorial weekend in the year of 2010, I discovered a lump where no lump should ever be," she said.

Kazmi went to a doctor and tests confirmed that she had developed breast cancer. After a double mastectomy she decided to go through chemotherapy.

The combination of Bendaryl and steroids taken before the procedure and the chemotherapy often had powerful effects, she said.

"You can imagine what those drugs were doing to my body. I was like the Energizer Bunny and Superwoman all wrapped up in one package," she said.

She also had to go through the loss of her hair.

"I did a really, really difficult thing and asked my husband if he would shave my head," she said. "That was one of the hardest things he told me he has ever done."

However, now her hair has grown back and she has been cancer free for five years.

"When I go back for my next checkup in August, my doctor will cut me loose and I never have to go back," she said.

Relay participant and cancer survivor Carol Funkhouser said she participates in the Relay because of how many people she's known that it has affected.

"My husband and I have lost three parents to cancer and I'm surviving a terminal diagnosis," she said.

"We've lost several relatives and very dear friends."

Shelly Aragon, co-chair of the event, said she hopes that those kinds of experiences will be a thing of the past because of the ACS' work.

"I don't want my grandchildren to know about cancer. I want to try and kick it before it gets there," she said.

Funkhouser also participates in the Relay because it supports patient services from the ACS.

"The American Cancer Society does so much with everything they do," she said.

After Kazmi beat her breast cancer she started volunteering in many of the programs that the Relay supports.

At the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership she helps fit wigs on cancer patients.

"They would come in looking sad, sometimes with tears, and when they left they always had a smile," she said.

She also helps with the Road to Recovery program.

"You go and you pick up a person who is going through cancer at their home, take them to treatment and then take them home. These are people who sometimes don't have transportation to that life-saving treatment," said Kazmi.

This year's event was held at the Tulalip Amphitheatre for the first time ever. The Tulalip Tribes donated the space for the Relay.

"Hopefully it brings in a lot of the public because it's so open," said Aragon.

Allen said part of the event is meant to raise awareness of the support cancer patients have available.

"We're letting new cancer patients out there that there are resources here that they may not be aware of," he said.

More information about the local Relay is available at relayforlife.org/marysvilletulalipwa.

 

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