Tuesday Jul 22 2008
Relay for Life poised to battle cancer
By: Loryll Nicolaisen Journal Staff Writer
Relay for Life is about to paint the town purple. The 24-hour fundraiser takes over Placer High School’s Le Febvre Stadium Aug. 2-3, involving hundreds of community members with common goals — to raise money and awareness for cancer prevention and to fight the disease, to honor survivors and to remember those who lost their battles. Relay for Life begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2 and continues until 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 3. Teams of community members — it’s best to have teams of 15-24 people — basically camp out for 24 hours and take turns walking the track in one-hour blocks. With two weeks until the event, 25 teams have already signed up for Relay for Life and paid the $150 team entry fee. “There’s still time to form a team if you can get 15 or 20 of your good buddies to come out,” said Susan Morin, Auburn Relay for Life publicity chairwoman. People are also signing on as volunteers, said Kim Lightfoot, event chairwoman, but the more, the merrier. “I encourage anyone to come out to the event, whether you’re a part of a team or not,” she said. “In the end it’s all about the community, and the more community support we have, the better this event is.” Morin, who has lost family members, including her father Jim Parker, to various forms of cancer, said the 24-hour time period wasn’t just pulled out of thin air. It’s meant to represent the journey from diagnosis to treatment and recovery. “As the sun rises and it’s the light of day you’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for treatment and surviving cancer,” she said. Relay for Life starts off with a Celebration of Life ceremony — survivors are applauded before walking the first lap around the track. Themed laps, live music and entertainment, a costume contest and a talent show are planned throughout the event. One of the event’s most moving features is the luminaria ceremony, scheduled for 9 p.m. Aug. 2. These paper bags, emblazoned with names, messages and remembrances, are filled with sand and set aglow with either a candle, or, in this year’s case, glow sticks. “They’re to honor someone who is going through cancer treatments and also to remember those who have passed away from cancer,” Morin said. Morin said the luminarias will line the track and glow through the night, which makes for a nice effect for those walking in the middle of the night, as she does. “It’s so dark and quiet and it’s pretty cool to walk around with those lights flickering,” she said. A Fight Back ceremony, scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 3, ends the Relay for Life on a proactive note. Attendees will be asked to sign commitments to fight cancer. “The Fight Back piece is very important in order to carry the message on — we’re reminding them to get a mammogram, to eat better,” Lightfoot said. As long as there isn’t a cure, there will be a Relay for Life, Morin said. “The only way we’re going to find a cure … is to continue to fund the research and to continue to fund the programs that help people that do have cancer,” she said. “Until it gets to that point, we have to keep pushing.” The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment online at AuburnJournal.com.