Community

Relay teams ready for weekend

From the left, Sam Tanner, Jacque Fye and Karla Sharkey distribute T-shirst to Relay for Life team captains Wednesday afternoon at the Elks Lodge.  - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
From the left, Sam Tanner, Jacque Fye and Karla Sharkey distribute T-shirst to Relay for Life team captains Wednesday afternoon at the Elks Lodge.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

The Oak Harbor Relay for Life is just around the bend. Following months of fundraising, a mob of purple T-shirt clad walkers will descend on North Whidbey Middle School Friday and Saturday to support cancer fighters and survivors during Relay for Life.

“Young or old, it just seems to touch everybody,” said Susanne Skilbeck, whose mother-in-law and cousin both died of cancer. This year she will participate in the event for the first time, joined by her children and coworkers.

Skilbeck, Rita Stephenson and Robert Young, co-owners of Tradewinds Insurance, formed a team of employees and their families and got creative with the pre-relay fundraising.

Over the last two weeks, their team has “flocked” eight local establishments, including City Hall, which meant getting up early to nestle a group of bright pink flamingos prominently in front of an unsuspecting storefront.

A $75 donation removed the birds, $100 sent the flock on to another business of choice and $25 insured the birds would not return.

The light-hearted gag has netted the Tradewinds Insurance team $750. In addition to a car wash and other fundraising events, the team has raised $2,175 so far.

The Tradewinds Insurance team is just one of 102 teams, said Karla Sharkey, Relay for Life event chair, adding 1,090 registered participants are currently signed up for next week’s event.

Last year’s fundraising efforts netted $193,768 for cancer research and Relay organizers hope to raise even more money this year, Sharkey said. So far the team have raised $79,000, and more is sure to come in as the event nears. Sharkey expects a participant email blitz will bring in a sizable amount of donations.

Sharkey welcomes all cancer fighters, survivors, supports, family and friends to participate in the June 5 and 6 Relay for Life 24-hour walk-a-thon, which will take place at North Whidbey Middle School.

For more information, call event chair Karla Sharkey at 675-8091, email kksharkey123@comcast.net, or visit http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=17805.

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