A world with less cancer is a world with more birthdays, so it seems proper that the joy of birthdays is this year’s theme for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
The nationwide fundraiser kicks off locally in Brentwood this month with a get-together at Nines restaurant on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.
“We’re using that wonderful theme to help kick off our 2010 event,” said Brentwood Relay Event Chair Joy Benson. “We’re going to have cupcakes and candles for everyone who attends. All are welcome.”
The gathering will feature the Bristow Middle School Band playing a variety of birthday-related pieces.
But real purpose of the meeting, said Benson, is to celebrate those who are returning to the Relay and introduce to the Relay those who have never participated.
“The reason for this (Feb. 2 meeting) is to give people a little of the Relay experience,” said Benson. “What we mostly want to do is just get more information out into the community, help people find out about the Relay, how the teams operate, and let them know how much fun it all is. It’s a real celebration.”
Now in its sixth season, the Brentwood Relay for Life chapter has much to celebrate. Last year the group raised more than $230,000 for the cause, bringing its total to an unprecedented $1 million over the past six years. Last fall at the Relay Summit held in Los Angeles, the Brentwood chapter was honored for its success.
“We got the Thanks a Million award, which is given to relays that have earned a million dollars in their lifetime,” said Benson. “Less than 1 percent ever do that, and we did it in just five years. That just shows you how awesome this community is.”
So far, this year’s Brentwood Relay chapter has signed up 48 out of an available 125 teams for the event, which will be held on June 12-13 at Liberty High School. Benson’s hope is that the upcoming kick-off event will garner additional team sign-ups, volunteers and sponsors.
“Everyone in the world has been touched by cancer in some way, whether personally or through someone they know,” said Benson. “I’m a cancer survivor myself and there are a number of survivors on our committee, but there are also a lot who aren’t. This is a community that is just awesome. We couldn’t do this every year without this community and those who walk, participate or are just there to show their support. We’re very, very grateful.”
Nines restaurant is located at the Brentwood Golf Club, 100 Summerset Drive. For more information, call Benson at 925-200-9463, Event Co-Chair Wanda Zimmerman at 925-934-7640, or visit www.relayforlife.org/brentwoodca.