And they’re not finished.
“We still have until August to raise money,” said Jilda Fairhurst, Relay sponsorship coordinator. “We’ve exceeded our goal, but we’re not done. Relay is still happening in Oakley. We’re not stopping now.”
Fairhurst, a member of the Fishing For A Cure team, raised $3,600 for Relay, which took place at Freedom High School last weekend. And although she has raised the most funds so far, her entire team is even more inspired to keep going. The team has already garnered more than $11,000 – and Fairhurst wants to go for $15,000.
Event chair Cathleen Knight, who shared her duties with Tobie Meyer, said this year’s Relay was a success even though the event featured the same amount of participants as last year. Since the event was better organized, participants were able to enjoy themselves even more and get into the Relay spirit. Knight began participating in Relay events to honor her uncle, who passed away after a short battle with cancer in 2004. She has chaired each of Oakley’s Relay events and said that while she Relays to honor her uncle’s memory, she Relays for everyone touched by cancer, hoping that through such community events a cure will someday be discovered.
Relay Entertainment Coordinator Janet Hylton Relays for her sister, who survived non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and her father who died of lung cancer. While she didn’t participate on a team this year, being a part of Relay is still important to her.
“I Relay because I believe that through research and development, the American Cancer Society will find a cure one day,” Hylton said. “Relay helps fund this research. This research has so far saved my sister’s life. My Dad and friend (who died of leukemia at age 33) were not so fortunate. Those numbers need to improve.”
Relay For Life is the signature fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. It began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Wash., ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. His effort inspired others to create their own events, and now cities across the country host Relay events in which participants take turns walking the Relay track in an effort to show that cancer doesn’t sleep. Relayers are committed to supporting the cause until a cure is found, and year after year, supporters return to Relay, ready to reinforce their commitment to the cause.
While the 2011 Oakley Relay fundraising effort isn’t officially over until August, some Relay participants are ready to do the walk all over again.
“It was heartwarming to see so many people in our community come together for such an important cause,” said Anastasia Billings, member of team Kit & Caboodle and Delta Vista Middle School, which raised more than $2,800. “Although it was windy at first, it shaped up to be a beautiful day. The Survivor and Caregiver laps were inspiring, the Luminaria Lighting Ceremony was beautiful and the Fight Back messages were prominent. Everyone had fun, and I’m already looking forward to making next year’s Relay an even bigger community event.”
To donate to Oakley Relay For Life, visit www.relayforlife.org/oakleyca. Brentwood Relay For Life is scheduled for June 11. Antioch’s event is scheduled for June 25.