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Relay for Life - and for hope

Hundreds circle the track at Lake Oswego High to raise funds for the fight against cancer


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: RHONDA COHEN - A proud and happy moment at the 2014 Lake Oswego Relay for Life came when cancer survivors did a victory march around the high school track.Thunder and lightning filled the sky, but it was the hundreds of participants who created the real fireworks Saturday and Sunday during the 2014 Lake Oswego Relay for Life.

Nearly 500 runners and walkers circled the track at Lake Oswego High School to raise thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society. One team — Kids for Cure — raised $30,000 alone, and eight others raised more than $1,000 each.

“Our goal is well within reach,” says event chair Rhonda Cohen, who notes that donations still can be made online at relayforlife.org/lakeoswegoor. “We’re getting closer to $75,000 every day.”

Jamie Inglis, who helped with the event on behalf of the Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Department, says “2014 was a huge success for the relay. It was exciting to see so many wonderful local businesses, community groups and individuals come together to fight the disease.”by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Amy Moring, a junior at Lake Oswego High School, runs past the grandstands where luminaria spell out Hope and Cure.

This year’s relay included a new event: a 5K Lunar Stride that featured participants decked out in glow bracelets, flashing buttons and other glowing gear.

“The race was held at 9 p.m. on Saturday night and was a glow-in-the-dark run,” Inglis says. “Despite the nearly 100-degree weather, many runners and walkers joined for the run to beat cancer. It also brought many new guests to the relay.”

Other special moments, Inglis says: the presentation of the Spirit Award to Madeleine O’Brien, and the recognition of cancer survivors who did a victory march around the track.

The 2014 relay marked the last time Cohen will serve as event chair. She previously served as chair in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2013. Cohen has long been a big supporter of Relay for Life.

“I’ve been a Relayer since 1994, when my mom, Fran Fejes, was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Cohen says. “She asked me to come cheer her on as she walked the survivor lap. She lost her battle with cancer in 1999.”

Despite stepping down as chair, Cohen says, “I will always be involved with the Lake Oswego Relay for Life. I plan to lead a committee or two for the 2015 event and help the Lake Oswego community understand that this event is for all of them.”

Inglis, who served on the Lunar Stride committee, had high praise for Cohen.

“The true all-star of Relay for Life is Rhonda Cohen,” she says. “Rhonda revitalized the Relay efforts in Lake Oswego many years ago, and her hard work has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society. She is a true hero.”



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