According to the American Cancer Society, more than 15.5 million Americans with a history of Cancer were alive on January 1, 2016, and about 1.7 million new cancer cases were expected to be diagnosed last year. The American Cancer Society has long been on the forefront of the fight against the far-reaching effects of cancer, and they are attacking it from every angle. Since 1985, the ACS’s Relay for Life event started in the same city as our headquarters, Tacoma, Wash., to engage the community to gather and support cancer patients and survivors.
Columbia Bank is a proud long-term partner and supporter of the ACS and Relay for Life. Since 1993, Columbia Bank teams across the Northwest have joined to support the events that provide support for survivors through programs providing transportation to treatment and funding life-saving research. Our Tacoma Relay team led by Sandy Snider has continually shown a distinct passion for supporting this great cause. Year after year, Sandy and her team have been able to crush fundraising goals! In her tenure with Columbia Bank’s Tacoma Relay for Life event, Sandy and her team have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cause. Last year, the American Cancer Society honored Sandy with the Gordy Klatt award for her ongoing commitment to the fight against cancer. Below, we’ve connected with Sandy to hear how her passion for Relay for Life has grown over the years and to recap some of her favorite moments in her years of supporting the Tacoma Relay for Life walk.
How long have you been involved in the Relay for Life?
Sandy: This year was my 20th Relay for Life! When I attended my first Relay event with Columbia Bank there were just two of us on the Tacoma Relay team; this year our team grew to over 60 team members from the Tacoma area alone!
What first prompted you to get involved?
Sandy: I was invited to participate my first year by a coworker, not really knowing what to expect I showed up and walked the Relay with her as a team of two Columbia Bankers. I was immediately hooked! The energy and inspiration on the track, particularly during the survivor lap, is what motivated me to get involved and give it my all year after year.
What motivates you to support the Relay?
Sandy: It seems like at least once a month I hear of someone new who’s been diagnosed with cancer; someone who’s heard those life changing words from their doctor. I keep those people in mind when I’m working hard to spread awareness and fundraise for the Relay! Until there is a day where there are no more cancer diagnosis’, we must continue to support the American Cancer Society and the Relay for Life who provide hope to survivors everywhere.
What are some of your favorite memories and moments from your experience with Relay?
Sandy: One of my favorite moments had to be the opportunity to spend time with Dr. Klatt, the founder of Relay, and help spearhead the team that was able to commission the art installation pictured above in his honor. My favorite parts of each Relay event are the magic of the luminaria, the inspiration of the sea of purple during the survivor lap, and our ongoing tradition of finishing strong by completing the last lap in a full-on skip!
What are your future goals for your Relay for Life team?
Sandy: My goal for our team is to continue to be the #1 overall fundraising team in the Relay for Life and to continue to grow our team’s participation each year! I can’t wait to look out at a Relay for Life event and see hundreds of Columbia Bank teammates.
This year, the Columbia Bank Tacoma Relay team was able to raise a record-breaking $37,000 and was honored as the top fundraising team! We are so thrilled with the energy and passion that the Tacoma Relay team poured into their fundraising efforts. We look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together as the rest of our branches and teams across the Northwest fundraise and rally in their local Relay for Life events throughout June.
To learn more about the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and learn how to get involved visit: http://relay.acsevents.org.
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