Already, 68 teams have raised more than $23,000 for the American Cancer Society (ACS) through the Antioch/Pittsburg Relay for Life – and the event is still a month away. Los Medanos College will host the annual 24-hour walkathon starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 23.
Organizers are hoping to get 90 teams signed up by then. “We’ve really been trying to encourage anybody and everybody to come out and experience Relay if they haven’t,” said event Co-chair Michele Littlefield. “The morale has been incredible this year. Everybody is really excited for Relay.”
Every year, throughout the nation, communities host Relay for Life events, in which teams raise money for the American Cancer Society through bake sales and other fundraisers. The goal is to have at least one team member on the track for the full 24 hours.
Last year, more than 500 residents participated in the Antioch/Pittsburg Relay for Life, raising roughly $113,000. That money goes toward cancer research and prevention, but it also makes an immediate impact in the community. ACS provides services for people trying to quit smoking, offers cancer patients complimentary rides to and from visits to the doctor and helps low-income and uninsured people get treatment for the deadly disease.
“We’re just trying to get an awareness of both of the communities to let them know that ACS is there,” event Co-chair Judy Dawson said, “and we have a lot of wonderful services that are all free, paid for by donations.”
The Relay emphasizes three stages: Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back. The event celebrates those who have defeated cancer, remembers those who have lost the battle, and fights back by helping the ACS.
At the start of each event, cancer survivors take the first lap. When nighttime comes, the track is lined with personalized luminaria bags honoring those who have battled cancer.
Local Relayers have been pounding the pavement, raising awareness and dollars. Recently, participants took to the streets to paint the town purple – the official color of cancer awareness. They decorated stretches of Lone Tree Way in Antioch and Railroad Avenue in Pittsburg with purple ribbons.
While the Relay addresses a somber subject, the event is full of fun. Throughout the day, local musicians take the stage to keep the walkers’ feet moving. There are also themed laps – such as crazy hats or pajamas – and some teams go above and beyond to make it a great time.
On Saturday, In-Shape Health Club, 4099 Lone Tree Way in Antioch, will host a rummage/bake/craft sale fundraiser for Relay from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Teams who have already registered for a team can set up shop in the gym’s parking lot, selling items to raise money. Littlefield said the fundraiser is also a perfect opportunity for newcomers to learn more about Relay and register a team for free.
Organizers have also planned a Bark for Life in August, so dogs and their owners can keep supporting ACS after the humans have participated in June’s Relay.
“We are out in the community getting donations of food and other items that we need for a successful Relay,” Dawson said. “We are so happy that we are able to have our event, our Relay at Los Medanos College.”
Want to learn more about Relay for Life or register a team? Visit www.relayforlife.org/antiochca.
Check out The Press’ Relay for Life videos at www.thepress.net/pages/video_special.