Liberty High School’s football stadium will be decorated in balloons and streamers this weekend, but not for graduation. The smiling faces flooding the field will be those of BrentwoodRelay For Life volunteers, who will descend on the school for their annual 24-hour walkathon to support the American Cancer Society.
Relay For Life is a community event. Even if you aren’t a member of a fundraising team, Relay For Life Event Chair Ron Yarolimek encourages you to stop by to see what Relay is all about.
“This is our ninth year hosting Relay For Life in Brentwood, but I’m constantly meeting people who’ve never heard of Relay and have no clue what it’s about,” Yarolimek said. “Our volunteers and teams put together a really fun event, and we want to share it with the community. There’s no admission. All you do is stop at the registration table and get a wristband. It’s that simple.”
Yarolimek also notes that Relay For Life guests are not obligated to participate in the walkathon. Guests may simply enjoy the festivities, which include games, live music and activities, such as Relay Bingo.
Relay For Life kicks off Saturday, June 1 at 9 a.m. with the Survivors Lap. Cancer survivors and their caregivers lead the first lap around the track, and after that, teams keep a minimum of one member on the track throughout the 24-hour event to symbolize that the fight against cancer never rests.
Relay’s primary focus is to honor and celebrate cancer survivors and their caregivers. This year survivors will be treated to goodies and pampering at the Survivor’s Tent.
“This is a day to remind cancer survivors and their caregivers that they’re not alone in this fight,” said Survivor Chair Wendy Robertson. “Everyone at Relay wants the same thing: an end to cancer. We’ll have goodie bags, food and refreshments exclusively for survivors.”
Relay For Life teams have been fundraising throughout the year, and since the event is one of their last opportunities to collect donations, most teams host onsite fundraisers. Some teams host raffles while others offer games or prize wheels. Each team also donates a gift basket or prize package for the Relay Raffle. Past raffle baskets have included a San Francisco Giants fan pack, a gift card garden, a bicycle, and a homemade spa kit. Tickets are $1. All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.
Relay For Life is fun for the whole family. The Kids Zone is open Saturday, and this year’s activities are better than ever – a scavenger hunt, a chuck-a-chicken rubber chicken toss, face painting, arts and crafts, relay races, splash ball toss and sack races.
“It’s going to be a fun day,” said Kids Zone Chair Lynn Gursky. “We’ve got all kinds of activities planned for the kids. And lots of prizes. All the games are free, so the kids are going to have a great time.”
When the sun goes down and teams begin to prepare their campsites for the night, Relay participants return to the track for the Luminaria lap, a time to honor those who have lost their battle against cancer. Teams line the tracks with bags featuring messages to loved ones. The bags are lit with glow sticks and glimmer throughout the night as a reminder to continue the fight.
“It reminds us why we’re doing this,” Robertson said. “We’ve lost too many friends to this disease. Relay is just one day in the year, but we have to keep the fight going throughout the year.”
For more information about Brentwood Relay For Life, visit www.relayforlife.org/brentwoodca.