By Emily Hoard • Staff Writer • 

McMinnville’s annual cancer awareness event opens June 27


“I relay to bring awareness, loud and clear to everyone, that no matter how big or small your cancer is, you’re a survivor, an amazing person,” said Thomasina Newby, captain of Team Cancer Rebels.

A survivor of melanoma, Newby is looking forward to bringing her team, and her message, to McMinnville’s 2015 Relay for Life the weekend of June 27-28.

The event has started on Friday evening and wrapped up at mid-day Saturday in the past, but will begin at noon Saturday this year and run to 11 a.m. Sunday. It is being staged on Baker Field, north of the McMinnville School District Office on Highway 99W.

Community members form teams and raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Teammates take turns walking the track all night, reflecting the Society cautionary mantra, “Cancer never sleeps.”

Newby recently lost one friend to cancer and knows another currently undergoing chemotherapy. “It strikes when you least expect it, the young and the old,” she said.

She said Oregon is one of the states most affected by melanoma, which has become a personal focus for her.

“It changed me,” she said. “I am stronger in so many ways, yet live in daily fear of it coming back. I salute all those who fight.”

This year’s event will start at noon with opening ceremonies. The traditional survivors’ lap will follow, after which participating survivors will be treated to lunch.

The lighting of luminaria positioned around the track in honor of victims, survivors and caregivers, depending on the onset of darkness, will cap the first-day agenda at 10 p.m.

This year’s theme is Carnival of Hope, so each team will host a carnival game at its booth.

Relay teams will be raffling off items both days, including a quilt, a bistro set and a gift certificate for Recology services. The event will also feature a taco truck, bands, a DJ and a set of themed laps.

Event Chair Krista Pomeroy noted how this will be her third relay.

“Every time I turn around, I’m hearing about more and more people having cancer, so it seemed right to join the fight,” she said. “In March 2014, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, so the reason for the relay became more personal.”

To register or donate, visit For more information, call Pomeroy at 503-435-7651 or Community Manager Jenny Black at 541-264-8468.


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