Guests to the Sunland/Tujunga Elks Lodge on March 23 were greeted to a room filled with red and white flowers, colorful birthday balloons and the savory smells of a bountiful brunch in the making. The relaxing, festive and delicious venue was to celebrate “another birthday” for cancer survivors and caregivers from the foothills community. The event also helped build excitement for the 24-hour Relay for Life event taking place Saturday, April 20 – Sunday, April 21 at Verdugo Hills High School.
Over 40 guests enjoyed an omelet bar with complete with hash browns, corned beef hash, bacon, sausages and biscuits with gravy. The Elks Lodge has partnered with the American Cancer Society’s Sunland/Tujunga Relay For Life Committee since 2009 when club representatives first attended an “interested parties” meeting. This was the Elks’ fourth year hosting the brunch, and it continues to be a part of the philanthropy of giving back to the community.
Volunteer Survivor Chair Ada Moore welcomed guests to the event and shared with the group what brought her to Relay For Life. She has relayed since 2005 and said she will continue to do so as long as she is able.
Moore, with her team of Advocacy Chair Becky Stafford and Team Development Chair Connie Moore, go into the community each week to spread the word about Relay for Life and the services of the American Cancer Society. Even more impressive is that these ladies all live in Palmdale and still make the journey each week.
Moore introduced this year’s guest speaker Nina Sorkin. Sorkin is part of the distinguished American Cancer Society’s Heroes of Hope program. Individuals are nominated as a Hero of Hope and, when chosen, are trained to go out into communities and talk about their own personal journey. Sorkin just celebrated her 17th birthday since being diagnosed. She considers herself fortunate that she saw her son graduate high school, college, grad school, then get married and giving her two granddaughters.
Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler Earl Bouchard spoke briefly about the impact Relay for Life has had for his family and how personal the event has become. He stressed the importance of communication with a health care provider early on and requesting various screenings based on family history and symptoms. Bouchard said he was thrilled that members of his family were in attendance and was happy to host this event each year.
Two of the brunch’s youngest elementary school guests, Sophia and Ashley, assisted with the raffle drawing. Both young ladies had family members who had been touched by cancer. Team Development Chair Connie Moore awarded two guests with raffle prizes donated by Supercuts and Exotic Nails.
Submitted by Heather L. BURGESS