Relay event raises funds, awareness

Photo by Tony Kukulich

Averie Thompson was one of the leaders of the survivor lap at Relay for Life of the Delta at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, June 22. More than 60 teams participated in the 24-hour event.

Volunteers, civic groups, politicians and members of the 67 participating teams gathered Saturday morning, June 22, on the track at Los Medanos College to kick off the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of the Delta — a 24-hour-long event that raised $110,000 for the battle against cancer.

Approximately 800 participants were supported by a team of 250 volunteers. The money raised will help the American Cancer Society provide free information and support for people facing the disease today, and bolster cancer research funds that will help protect future generations.

“It was inspirational to see people from all parts of our community come out to support us and help save lives from cancer,” said Jamie Rackley, one of two event leaders. “Together, we celebrated those surviving cancer, remembered loved ones lost and took tangible action to make a difference.”

Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgis and Antioch Mayor Sean Wright spoke during the opening ceremony, which was followed by the first lap around the track: the “survivor lap.” Leading this year’s survivor lap were Lincoln Gundelach, a 3-year-old brain cancer survivor, and Averie Thompson, who beat neuroblastoma when she was 2 years old.

“Seeing these little kids walk the survivor lap was both heartbreaking and hopeful,” said Tina Hannon, an event leader. “To think that someone so small has been through so much is so hard to comprehend. And yet there is something so hopeful in the fact that the efforts of Relay for Life are making testing, research and awareness more prominent, creating more survivors.”

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