KODIAK — Hundreds showed up for the annual Relay For Life walkathon event in Kodiak over the weekend. The event was part of a national fundraising campaign for the American Cancer Society, an organization whose stated mission is to “save lives, celebrate lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer.”
The rain held off Saturday afternoon at Woody Way Field as walkers of all ages, many countries of origin, and varied personal backgrounds and histories with the disease took laps around the track in solidarity with the national fight against cancer.
“It’s personal,” said Gina Bishop, of the Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center, who led a fundraising team called the Walking Warriors. “Cancer touches everybody.”
Vendors sold wares to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Linda Covert-Mosier, a 71-year-old cancer survivor, hand-knitted and sold “scrubbies,” like bath loofahs, from the Kodiak Lions Club tent. Their many colors attracted kids throughout the day. Each color represented a different form of cancer; pink for breast cancer, light blue for prostate cancer, lime green for lymphoma.
“I walk for my family,” said Covert-Mosier, who’s had seven family members diagnosed with the disease.
Some walked for those who were not able to.
Kathie Morin said she became involved with Relay for Life nine years ago because she wanted to be a part of the community. She has walked for the entire 24-hour length of the event in years’ past.
“I want to show that no matter what, there’s always someone willing to continue to fight,” she said.
This year, wearing a plastic bag on her left shoe to guard against the wet ground, she said she walked on behalf of a friend who is battling cancer.
“She couldn’t stay, so we said we would stay for her,” Morin said.
Jerry Clark directed this year’s event, which raised about $51,000 in total – well over the $41,000 goal.
Clark’s team, “Work in Progress,” was made up of family members. His mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor, and his grandmother died from the disease.
“Everybody’s got it,” he said.
Marian Royall brought her father to the event from the assisted living center. She said she is a strong supporter of the American Cancer Society partly because it helped pay for airfare when her father was receiving treatment in Anchorage. This year, she helped lead a fundraising team called “Let’s Stomp Out Cancer.”
“I believe in the cause,” she said. With Relay, she said, “I can do a little bit of something.”