As the Relay opens, we celebrate the lives of those who have survived, the many who are still fighting cancer, and family and friends who lost their battle. As the daylight ends, the track is illuminated with hundreds of luminaria in a ceremony that allows Relayers an opportunity to reflect thoughtfully, remembering again those whose lives we have celebrated during the day.
Why do we Relay? The answer is varied. In the big picture, we Relay to assist the American Cancer Society in its goal to detect cancer earlier, strive for better treatment of cancer when it is detected and conduct research to eventually eradicate this horrid disease. Many of us have chosen the American Cancer Society because the money we raise is used to fight all types of cancer.
On a more personal level, those who participate do so either to celebrate the life of someone who is battling cancer, remember someone close to them who has succumbed to cancer, and do what they can to fight back.
My mother died of lung cancer in 1978 and a brother died from pancreatic cancer in 1998 at age 50. My wife is a breast cancer survivor. Team Co-captains Kathy Morford and Karen Troy of Donna’s Trooper’s have told me that their Girl Scout Troop is participating in honor of Donna Gutridge, who has just been diagnosed with a very aggressive strain of breast cancer.
Vicky Kelsey captains Team Suzie Q. She tells me that she has lost two loved ones to cancer during the past year. Vicky no longer wants to just stand by and hope for a cure. She wants to be a part of the solution.
East County is hosting three Relay For Life events this year: Oakley’s relay takes place at Freedom High on May 2-3 (www.relayforlife.org/oakleyca), Brentwood’s event will be held at Liberty High on June 13-14 (www.relayforlife.org./brentwoodca), and Antioch’s relay takes place at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg on July 27-28 (www.relayforlife.org/antiochca). Online donations are accepted.
– Contributed by Ron Yarolimek