With commitments to finish the fight against cancer by continuing to fund research until the final nail is hammered into the cancer coffin, 30 some Relay for Life 2014 team captains gathered at the Kenai Visitor & Cultural Center (KVCC) for this year’s Kick-Off event. Now in her third year as the Relay for Live event chair for the Central Peninsula, Johna Beech is excited to be holding the event at Kenai Central High School this year, “We’ve had it at the Soldotna Sports Center for the last couple years and listening to feedback folks wanted to be back at a high school with a track so we are moving to Kenai for the first time and will be walking on their new track which will be kinder to our walkers,” Beech told the Dispatch in an interview.
Grill Master Joe Gallagher of HEA roasted up sausages and really big tube steaks (hot dogs) on a sunny Saturday afternoon that were provided by XTO. Meanwhile inside at the KVCC team captains were inspired by a video presentation by the American Cancer Society, words by Senior Relay for Life Alaska manager Joe Debets and a skit by breast cancer survivor Susan Smalley and her husband care giver Hal. “It was hilarious and inspirational all at the same time as well as very practical. If we play our cards right we hope to talk them into repeating it at this year’s event,” added Beech. According to Beech they hope to raise $67,000 dollars at the 2014 Relay to be held May 30-31st.
Also on hand for the Kick Off from the American Cancer Society in Anchorage was Relay specialist Meghan Mackey who told the Dispatch, “I used to say my reason for being involved was because my family had never been touched by cancer and I wanted to keep it that way. But in the four years I have been with the American Cancer Society my grandfather has been diagnosed and I have been fighting skin cancer since I was 29. So now my family has been touched and raising funds for research is very personal,” said Mackey. The American Cancer Society is second only to the U.S. government in funds spent for cancer research. “Our biggest goal at the American Cancer Society is to put ourselves out of work someday,” added Mackey.
There is still time to register a team and become a team captain. Log on to Central Peninsula Relay for Life or call Carmen Triana at Soldotna Community Schools, or call Johna Beech. “While our goal is $67K I have challenged our committee members and team captains that if we go over and hit $75K I would die my hair pink and sing ‘Journey’ at Relay. I have had that out there for three years and never yet had to die my hair,” says Beech.