By Stephanie Johnson
Karaoke for Cancer. I never knew it was going to be like this. At first I didn’t know what I was getting into at all!
It all started when I met my husband, Erik. He is one of three boys in the Johnson family, aka “Team Force,” an avid-to-the-point-of-obsession participating family in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Erik’s ice-breaker for asking me out was inviting me to one of his family’s Relay for Life fundraisers, an ‘80s dance party, in 2008. That was all it took for me to become hooked: on Erik, and on FUN-draising for the Relay for Life!
I have always loved being a part of and contributing to my community. Of course, if I was going to fit in with the Johnsons, I needed to step up my game for their RFL activities. I had witnessed many loved ones’ battles with cancer, so the passion to help fight it came naturally. I racked my brain for ideas on how I could contribute.
When one brainstorms fundraising ideas, the generic car washes and bake sales are a given, but I wanted to do something different. I love karaoke, so I thought, “What if we get people together and they can donate to sing?” Well, let me tell you, come together they did! I got by with a little help from my friends, family (especially my mom, Kathie Savelesky), and Leo Moreno, owner of The Loggers Inn in Sultan. Five years later, “Karaoke for Cancer” has become one of the greatest FUN-draisers the Relay for Life of Sky Valley has ever seen!
Every year we ‘Turn the Loggers Purple’ with decorations and balloons, and even participants know to wear their purple garb in honor of the Relay for Life. In addition to karaoke, where participants donate to sing or request a song from someone else, the event is comprised of Texas hold ‘em tournaments (where half the pot goes to the charity), and a fantastic raffle encompassing some of the best food/drink/services/etc. that the Sky Valley has to offer. There is truly something for everyone…and if there isn’t, there is plenty of food and booze!
Beyond the thrill of getting on stage to sing, or a chance at winning a poker game or a neat bauble in the raffle, it’s the feeling of community and doing something for the greater good that keeps people coming back, year after year. It’s awe-inspiring to see so many people—at a local dive bar no less!—come together and donate so much, while creating memories that will last a lifetime.
An event like this does not work without many contributions. I would like to thank the following for donating items for the 2013 raffle: Ben Bridge Jeweler, Everything Art Studio, Sky Valley Insurance, Angels Among Us Dog Grooming, Sammie Jo’s Coffee & Chocolates, Galaxy Theatre, Shannon Monahan, APC Wi-fi, Glo Tan, Charles Johnson, Cathy Johnson, Linda Pearl, Rosalyn Santerre Photography, Darci’s Dinky Donuts, Guilt-Free Goodness, Coffee Corral, Jeno’s, Michael Jordan, Deanna Deweese, Rosanne Middleton, Affordable Bookkeeping, Teal Barrickman, Guerilla Tactics Automotive, Siobhan Wagner Photography, X-Treme Automotive, Concrete Nor’West, Daggett Farms and Summer Verheul, an 11-year old who donated adorable handmade bows.
Special thanks to The Loggers Inn and their loyal compatriots for providing the venue and helping with set-up, the Monroe Monitor & Valley News for publishing our ad, Robbie Lackey for saving me in the DJ booth when the event got too big for me, and the participating members of Team Force…what what! Without all of these people we would never have come close to raising more than $12,000 over the past five years ($3,263 this year alone!).
Like I said, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It’s amazing how far a little idea can go with a lot of work and ample support! I wonder how much we will have raised in another five years…
If you have not yet experienced the inspiration that is Relay for Life, join us on June 1 and 2, 2013 at Monroe High School. You can find more information at www.facebook.com/rflskyvalley.