Relay for Life raises funds for cancer research

Relay for Life participants walk the track at Pullman High School on Saturday night to raise funds for cancer search.

Trekking miles on the Pullman High School track, community members walked together to support cancer research at a Relay for Life event on Saturday.

WSU’s Cougs Against Cancer organized the relay with the goal of raising $20,000 in donations, said Brittany Rumpf, event lead for Pullman’s Relay for Life event. Rumpf said $15,000 had been raised before the event started.

The relay, which started at 6 p.m. Saturday and lasted 12 hours, included numerous activities to keep people moving around, Rumpf said. Among these were live band performances and different themed relay laps.

Everyone is affected by cancer, Rumpf said. At the age of 12 she lost her aunt to pancreatic cancer, and in high school her father was diagnosed with cancer as well.

“I kind of felt this motivation that I should do something about this,” Rumpf said. “We’re not getting paid, we’re staying up all night just for the heck of it.”

Megan Lamb, a cancer survivor who lost a friend to cancer four years ago, said it’s very moving to know that everyone came to the relay to support the same cause of ending cancer. Diagnosed at age three, Lamb said she remembers bits and pieces and how her cancer affected her family. She said she had undergone two years of chemotherapy.

Considering how many people attended the relay, Cheyenne Wong, a team ambassador for the Relay for Life teams, said Pullman should not be undermined for being a small town. Wong said the reality of cancer never really hit her until her grandfather passed away to cancer this year.

“It kick-started everything,” she said. “I never realized how big of a thing it was until I heard other people’s stories.”

In addition to funding research towards cancer, Sandra Norton, senior manager of Relay for Life in eastern Washington, said these relays also raise money for programs to assist those who have cancer free of charge. The American Cancer Society has hoteling programs, Norton said, as many people who have cancer do not get treatment because they cannot afford to travel to receive it.

“Our mission is to end cancer, and to at least address and minimize the suffering from cancer,” Norton said.

Those who are fighting cancer should never give up hope,” Lamb said. “Even since being cancer free, it’s still something I live with every day,” she said.