Oakley will be decked out in purple bows, ribbons and streamers signifying the countdown to the community fundraiser in which residents form teams and take turns walking around a track to demonstrate that cancer doesn’t sleep, so the quest for cure won’t take a rest, either.
“Relay For Life is a really special event, but it’s not a traditional relay,” said Event Coordinator Tobie Meyers. “It’s not a race. You don’t have to run around the track. You just have to go out and have fun. We have an ’80s theme this year, and we just want people to come out and support our cancer survivors and show them that we share in their battle and want to see an end to cancer as much as they do.”
This year’s Relay will be held April 28 and 29 at Freedom High School, 1050 Neroly Road. The event kicks off that Saturday at 9 a.m., continues into Sunday morning and features live music, activities, a kids’ zone, food and team and vendors booths. Last year Oakley’s Relay raised $110,000 for the American Cancer Society. This year, Meyer said donations are down by nearly $40,000 compared to this time last year, but she’s not discouraged.
“Of course, we want to raise as much money as possible, but I’m not hounding our participants to raise more,” she said. “At the heart of it, Relay is a celebration. It’s a family-friendly community event, and I’m more concerned that our survivors and their families have a good time. That’s what Relay is all about.”
So far, 338 participants have registered, forming 42 teams. At press time, those participants had raised $33,095. According to Meyer, there is plenty of time to sign up participants and host fundraisers, as teams can continue to raise funds for Relay via the Relay website through August.
A host of related fundraisers will be conducted during the Relay event. The Road to Recovery program, for example, coordinates the transport of cancer patients to and from doctors’ appointments and chemotherapy treatments. The Road to Recovery Relay activity involves teams designing their own cardboard cars. Drivers travel around a course to pick up patients, take them to a doctor’s appointment and return them home before returning to the start-finish line. Teams are timed, and the winning teams win money to benefit their Relay fundraising efforts. Road to Recovery is offered through the American Cancer Society.
“We’ve got a lot of things planned this year,” Meyers said. “It’s our fourth year and we always try to outdo ourselves and create the most memorable Relay we can. I think our participants are in for some surprises this year.”
To learn more about Oakley’s Relay For Life, visit www.relayforlife.org/oakleyca.