East Grays Harbor Relay for Life has announced that they will be combining once again with the Relay for Life of Grays Harbor in Hoquiam.
In a statement sent out to team captains following a recent meeting, they announced the change.
The Relay for Life of Grays Harbor started in Hoquiam in 1986. In 2005, the East Grays Harbor Relay for Life was created as an offshoot for East County residents.
KXRO spoke with local American Cancer Society Community Development Manager Angie Coulter about what prompted the move to rejoin the Hoquiam event.
“The return to Hoquiam is happening because across the country, Relay for Life income has declined by 19%- but locally- our events have gotten so small that it only makes sense to combine them and recreate the big, fun event that we used to have in Hoquiam. If we were to take all the teams that East County had last year and combine them with all the teams that Hoquiam had last year- we would have around 60ish teams. In our heyday- Hoquiam had way over 70 teams. This is an effort to return to our glory days. Grays Harbor County has many issues that are negative- such as our high death rate, our high drug use statistics and our unemployment rate. We need something positive and Relay has always been that for us. “
The current teams in East County will join together to form a single team with the name “East Grays Harbor”. Each group will still have their individual fundraisers, with the collective funds raised going toward their team goal of $20,000 for 2018.
“East Grays Harbor” co-captain Lisa Poisso said in their statement, “One thing was adamantly agreed upon last night: we can’t stop fundraising, we just can’t. We can’t give up now. To do so would be counterproductive.”
According to the statement to current volunteers, there is a plan to hold a separate smaller event two weeks prior to the Grays Harbor Relay for Life at the Elma ponds for residents in East County who are unable to make it to Hoquiam to still have a place to participate. Details of that event are not known at this time.