Group sets ambitious goal of $125,000 for 2017

February 2 was a cold winter night in Kent, but that didn’t stop Relay for Life Kent organizers or supporters from attending the local Relay for Life kickoff at Kent Station. About 50 people showed up to honor those loved and lost to cancer and to kick off the 2017 fundraising season.

The meeting opened with a personal story from guest speaker Bob Klie, a cancer survivor:

Becky Kinney, who works as a para-educator at Pine Tree Elementary, is one of about 30 committee members who are hosting fundraisers like the kickoff this year.

“The event was AMAZING! It was freezing cold, but there was no rain or snow,” Becky said.

The kickoff event closed with a luminaria ceremony dedicated to Ellie Walton, last year’s youngest cancer survivor at Relay for Life, who passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 4.

Events like this one and the Seattle Thunderbirds’ Relay for Life Hockey Night on February 10 – which raised $2,508 – all lead up to the main event on Friday, June 2, 2017. That event begins at 6 PM with a survivor lap and closes at 10 AM the following morning. All proceeds from the events go to the American Cancer Society in the organization’s fight against cancer.

Becky originally learned about Relay for Life 12 years ago when her mom died of cancer. She had seen a Relay for Life poster at church, and decided to attend and to light a luminaria with her father in memory of her mother.

“I was so impressed. It was so healing,” Becky said. “I knew that’s where I needed to be.”

Five years ago Becky’s father was diagnosed with cancer and her friend Jenna Sagen’s mother-in-law found out she also had cancer. Together Becca and Jenna put together a Relay for Life team and raised more than $7,000.

“We had a passion,” said Becky.

Becky and Jenna joined the Relay for Life Kent committee, starting as luminaria chairs and are now chairing the entire event with a group of about 30 others.

“We all have different talents,” Becky said. “Everybody has a job and they all work really hard.”

Last year Relay for Life of Kent raised over $100,000 and hopes to raise $125,000 this year. As of February 12, $6,276.32 had been raised. Individuals, teams and companies will raise money on their own, but Relay for Life Kent will help by promoting team events and hosting other local events like a team rally planned for March and “Paint Kent Station Purple” set for May.

To learn more about Relay for Life of Kent, to volunteer, donate or sign-up, visit


Relay for Life Kent is supported by these local sponsors: Kent School District, Proliance Orthopedic Associates, Seattle Thunderbirds, Denali Federal Credit Union, Jon Bye and Associates, Kent Chamber of Commerce, Bender and Molly, Hagen Entertainment, Kent Lions Club, Rich’s Pizza, Kent Station, Lund Upsahl, LLC, Brahma Electric and Rita’s Italian Ice.

Dana Neuts

I am a full-time freelance writer, editor, marketing pro and the publisher of

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