Relay for Life inspires Lynden woman

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 28, 2013 

Relay for Life group won best walking submission submission

The Anderson family of Lynden - Riley, left, Tami, Melanie and Doug - at the Farmers Day Parade in Lynden in June 2010. Their Relay for Life group won best walking submission during the parade.

BARBARA ANDERSON — Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

For those of you not familiar with Relay of Life, I will do my best to summarize it for you. Through this signature global movement known as Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society raises funds and awareness in the battle against cancer. Relay is a powerful overnight experience that takes place on a track where teams throughout the community unite and celebrate those who have won their cancer battle, remember those who have been lost, and fight back against the disease.

I am often asked the question, "why do you relay?" It's funny, because each time I struggle to find the right words to explain it. Each year I write my reasons in a letter to family and friends and somehow they are reduced to being summarized into a list. A long list of family and friends near and dear to me who have battled cancer. Some have won the battle and many have lost, and to summarize it in that way just doesn't feel right. I want to do more.

I have finally come to the conclusion that asking the question "why" isn't going to do anything, but being a part of Relay for Life is. I guess you could say "I Relay because I can!"

I came to the Lynden Relay six years ago out of curiosity. Inspired, I came back the next year, two teams in tow, to add awareness and see if I could raise a few dollars. If you would have told me four years later I would be the event chair of this event, I would have said you were crazy. Not because I lack the passion or am not up to the task, but because who am I to lead such a cause?

I am truly humbled to be leading a group of dedicated committee members and teams, all with the same purpose in mind. Not to mention the support of my husband and two daughters, aged 10 and 6, who are all Relayers themselves. I have been so blessed to meet so many people along my journey. Strangers who want nothing more than to feel supported and have a smile brought to their face or an ear to listen to them.

Beyond the dollars that will be raised this year, our goal is to create an atmosphere of support, family and fun. With the simple goal of putting a smile on everyone's face, I am thrilled with a unique event we are offering to raise funds for Relay this year.

Joining us out of Canada, a comedy group fittingly named The Boob Tour will be helping us find a cure, one laugh at a time. They are a dynamic collaboration of comedians who use their talents to help charities raise money to fight cancer and they are coming to our town in May. We are honored to be the only Relay in Washington right now to offer the two-night event.

The Boob Tour was started in 2007 to raise awareness about breast cancer after losing someone close to them. Making you laugh for a cure, this wild show is like no other and comes with the Breast of Intentions. Suitable for ages 16 and up, we are pairing the comedy show with a live and silent auction on May 23 starting at 6 p.m. at the Northwest Washington Fair Expo Building. And then the troupe is back again Friday, May 24, with the comedy show starting at 7:30 p.m. Concessions and a good time for all will be offered. To learn more and to get your tickets, please visit our website at relayforlifeofnorthwhatcom.org.

Our 2013 North Whatcom County Relay event will take place on June 21 and June 22 at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden. It all kicks off with our opening ceremony and survivor walk at 6 p.m. We have a wonderful, family-friendly event planned full of many activities, great food and inspiration served all night long. I want to personally invite all of you to join us so that one day we can all say, "Together we made a difference."


ABOUT WINDOW ON MY WORLD

Window On My World is an occasional essay in Monday's Bellingham Herald that allows Whatcom County residents to share their passion for what they do, an idea or cause they support. Send your Window On My World, which must be no more than 700 words, to Julie.shirley@bellinghamherald.com.

Tami Anderson is the event chair for Relay for Life of North Whatcom County. Originally from Kent, she graduated from Western Washington University in 1995 with a degree in graphic design. She works as marketing graphic designer at Peoples Bank. She lives in Lynden with her husband of 12 years, Doug Anderson, and their daughters Riley and Melanie.

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