The Kenai Peninsula celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the American Cancer Society on the last day of May with the 16th Annual Relay for Life at the Soldotna Sports Center. 100 years of working toward a cure for a disease that has affected everyone’s life in one way or another. Chase Carter was diagnosed with leukemia when he was attending Soldotna Middle School, he says he is alive today because of the research done by the American Cancer Society, “I’m alive today because of the research done by the American Cancer Society and that is what led me to get involved with the first Peninsula Relay for Life in 1999. I’ve been volunteering with the American Cancer Society ever since and it’s a real pleasure to be on staff with them now, we still have a lot to do and I have a chance every day to see that we not only fund research but we fund local programs and services,” he told the Dispatch in an interview. Carter is the American Cancer Society community relationship manager. “We like to call ourselves the official sponsor of birthdays because we believe every life that is saved from cancer is another birthday that gets to be celebrated so on our 100th birthday we all are taking the opportunity for us all to do away with moments of silence and get loud and make noise against cancer. We know that in 1913 when we were founded that no one survived cancer and through research, fundraising and awareness campaigns today 2 out or 3 people survive cancer today,” said Carter.
When the final lap of the 2013 Relay For Life was completed Chase took to the stage to announce the results of this year’s event before a sleep deprived but jubilant gathering. With 25 teams and 298 participants a total as of press time was $68,712.88 for the Central Peninsula Relay for Life. Top 3 teams were 1st Place “The Sleepwalkers” of Central Peninsula Hospital/Heritage Place raising $7,422.27. “We had about 13 team members and added a couple just last night. The theme this year was ‘Dream Big’ so we named our team the Sleep Walkers and interpreted that to mean a pajama party so we came in our robes and pajamas last night,” Team Captain Camille Sorensen told the Dispatch, “As a team we had a lot of different fund raisers and at Heritage Place we had a garage sale, we sold ice cream and had bake sales at the hospital and our employees paid $5.00 a day to be able to wear jeans during the week and we did a lot of different fun things that all added up,” she said. 2nd Place team was Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic church at $5,500.55 and 3rd top team was the “Cancer Curing Flying Monkeys” at $2,716.71.
The top fund raising individual participant this year was cancer survivor 11-year-old Joey Yourkoski who brought in $2,154.69, second by only a few dollars was Michael Webber at $2,095 and third was Catherine Carter who raised $1,000. The 2013 goal was a lofty $85,000 but Johna Beech, Relay coordinator says there is still time to reach that goal, “You can go on line to donate through August 31st at www.relayforlife.org/kenaiak. And for a $100 contribution you can still become a member of the American Cancer Society’s Centennial Club in honor of their 100th Anniversary,” said Beech.