Nearly $400,000 raised at Relay For Life: 'She walks with us'

Nearly $400,000 raised at Relay For Life: 'She walks with us' »Play Video
Margie Ray stops to talk to reporters while working on completing 104 laps (or a full marathon distance) around the track in honor of her mother and father at the 23rd annual Eugene Relay For Life.

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EUGENE, Ore. -- 23 years and running strong. Eugene's annual Relay For Life event has grown to be one of the nation’s largest, raising nearly $400,000 for the American Cancer Society so far this year.

Some runners are preparing for the Eugene Marathon Sunday morning, but Margie Ray made her 26-mile race around the Willamette track in memory of her parents. She had 83 laps completed by 10 a.m. Saturday, well on her way to the 104 equivalent of a marathon.

“I started walking at 11 last night. And I am walking in honor of my mom and dad,” said Ray.

Her father passed away from multiple myeloma.

“It means my dad didn't suffer for 20 years for nothing, that people learned a lot during that time and I'm still honoring his memory by raising money,” the 68-year-old Ray said.

Ray said the Relay For Life is all about contribution, whether you are paying respects or paying it forward.

“Last year they said it was number one in the world, and that blew my mind because it's such a small area. It says something about this community!” Ray said.

The 139 teams raised almost $400,000 at the 24-hour relay. Officials said that number will likely go up as people donate up to the August 27 deadline.

The Porath family has been attending Relay For Life events for 11 years. Robin Porath said July 30 will mark a decade since her sister died of ovarian cancer.

“She did the survivor walk once. And then after that she passed away and it's so very emotional,” said Porath. "She walks with us. I don't think there's a day that goes by that we don't think of her."

Both Robin and her mom say each participant has a story, but they all are taking steps to finding a cure.