Paint the Town Purple supports Arlington's Relay for Life | SLIDESHOW

ARLINGTON — Characters from the “Magic Kingdom” joined “Purple Pooches,” belly dancers and several teams of prospective walkers in turning an otherwise rainy Saturday in downtown Arlington into a chance to “Paint the Town Purple” to support this year’s Arlington Relay For Life.

Kay Duskin has been actively involved in helping to coordinate the Arlington Relay For Life since its debut in 2010, and she reported that, as of the “Paint the Town Purple” events on March 3, this year’s Arlington Relay has already outpaced last year’s Relay in fundraising.

“We’ve already generated $64,000,” Duskin said. “By April of last year, we’d only raised $45,000. That’s due to the hard work, commitment and hustle of everyone who’s already done their part, but we can’t let up now.”

According to Duskin, 68 teams had signed up for this year’s Arlington Relay For Life by March 3, 18 of whom had booths in Magnolia Hall and the former Unique Interiors building on Third Street that Saturday.

The Arlington Walmart’s seven-member team of “Relay Rascals” was peddling handmade crafts and baked goodies to help meet its goal of raising roughly $5,000 for the Arlington Relay For Life for three consecutive years.

“I’ve been Facebooking my friends to death about this,” laughed Relay Rascals co-captain Gena Johnston, who first took part in Relay after her husband’s stepmother died of cancer two years ago. “We didn’t know what to do, but we knew Relay was going on, since [co-captain] Sheila [Peel] has been doing it for the past 10 years. We saw all the people wearing their purple ribbons, and we bawled like babies at the luminaria that night. I loved that I could feel that much compassion from and unity with complete strangers. It changed my life.”

Kayl Allen, 10, donned Mickey Mouse gloves and ears to shill donuts and coffee for “Team Eagle Creek and Friends,” which is also auctioning off a painting made by Allen himself.

“I was inspired by the Disney castle,” Allen said of the painting’s towering spires.

Allen’s grandfather had passed away from cancer, so he hopes that he’ll be joined by plenty of community members in keeping themselves awake during this year’s Arlington Relay For Life with donuts and coffee, or in his case, hot cocoa.

The students of Eagle Creek Elementary had already collected roughly $2,000 for “Team Eagle Creek and Friends” through their two-week “Coins for a Cure” fundraiser.

At the “Purple Pooch Parade” on the sidewalk just outside of Magnolia Hall, Shawna Erickson and her dog Maggie scored the title of “Most Purple Dog and Owner” for dressing in matching University of Washington Huskies jerseys, while Steve Robinson and his dog Patches were named the dog and owner who looked the most alike, since Patches’ black fur was white around in his mouth in a way that mirrored Robinson’s goatee.

The belly dancing troupe “Rubies on Fire” drew audiences back indoors, where “Cruzin for a Cure” was applying colorful hair extensions to bolster their own team’s fundraising for the Arlington Relay For Life.

“I usually have feathers to go with the hair extensions, but not today,” said Alisha Strothman, as she affixed the extensions to the hair of women and girls of all ages. “Last year, we made about $1,200 through hair extensions alone.”

Strothman’s aunt, Lori Miller, is not only the team captain of “Cruzin for a Cure,” but is also a cancer survivor who’s been in remission for seven years.

“My mom and my daughter are both survivors,” Miller said. “I have a 12-year-old niece who has a tumor in her lungs. I don’t want my grandkids to have to hear the words, ‘You have cancer.’”


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