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Arlington ‘Paints the Town Purple’ | SLIDESHOW

ARLINGTON — As of 1:30 p.m. on March 23, the day of its fourth annual “Paint the Town Purple” event, the Arlington Relay For Life had recruited 67 teams of 398 participants and raised $46,650 to support the American Cancer Society.

“Paint the Town Purple” officially kicked off only a half-hour earlier in Legion Park where various Relay supporters were pitching their wares and looking to enlist more donors and walkers for the Relay itself, which will start June 22 at Arlington High School.

Arlington Relay For Life Co-Chairs Kim Deisher-Allen and Jessica Angel expressed gratitude and relief for the clear, sunny skies that greeted visitors to downtown Arlington in time for them to “Paint the Town Purple,” and noted that this year’s Relay season already has a leg up on its predecessors.

“We’re already well ahead of where we were this time last year,” Angel said. “We’ve raised $782,000 over the course of the previous three years of Relays in Arlington, so our goals for this year are for 130 teams to raise $260,000.”

While the Playa Bonita Mexican Restaurant and Hubb’s Pizza and Pasta offered “Purple Plate Specials” in honor of “Paint the Town Purple” all day long, Arlington Relay Sponsorship Chair Jan Schuette reflected on the day’s sad anniversary, since her niece, Jesse Kendall Schuette, died of brain cancer at the age of 14 on March 23, 1995.

“Her passing impacted a lot of people,” said Jan Schuette, who captains “Jesse’s Team” for the Arlington Relay For Life, and sells homemade caramels to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. “She garnered such a great group of people.”

Jesse was diagnosed with brain stem cancer at the age of 8 in 1989 and was given two years to live, but she lasted six years instead, long enough to become a spokesperson for Seattle Children’s Hospital and be named the Washington State Young Philanthropist of the Year for 1994. Jan estimated that her caramel sales have generated between $1,300 to $1,900 each Christmas since Jesse’s passing 18 years ago.

For more information on Schuette’s caramels, call her at 360-201-3527 or email her at hjschuette44@gmail.com.

Like Jan Schuette and many other Relay participants, Bryony White got involved because she lost a loved one to cancer. After her mother died, White acquired four dogs whom she credited with helping her cope with her grief.

“They’re my babies,” said White, who was inspired to start an Arlington Bark For Life this year, similar to Marysville’s returning Bark For Life event. “They’ve been so comforting.”

The Haller Middle School stadium will serve as the site for the 2013 Arlington Bark For Life from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 18.

“I’d like to get about 300 attendees and $3,500 in funds raised,” White said, before laughing, “Working at Starbucks lets me talk to most of Arlington.”

Bark For Life will include dog trainers and veterinarians, but is also open to those who just want to walk the track whether or not they own any dogs.

For more information on the Arlington Bark For Life, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fightcancerwithyourpooch. To learn more about the Arlington Relay For Life, log onto www.relayforlife.org/arlingtonwa.

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