By Joyce LEE, intern
Participants in the annual Foothills Relay for Life will take to the Clark Magnet High School field on April 12, repeating a history that all didn’t want to have to do: walk for a cure of cancer.
Since 1985, the year in which Dr. Gordy Klatt initiated the beginning of the American Cancer Society marathon, Relay for Life has raised $5 billion around the globe to fight cancer. The 24-hour relay consists of about two-dozen teams, each full of people who have been touched by cancer in some way. In order to fundraise and help the American Cancer Society, each relay team camps overnight while a team member takes a turn walking around the track.
The 2014 Foothills Relay is striving to reach its target of raising $80,000. However, the Relay is not merely a fundraising event like other non-profit organizations; its true motive lies in the remembrance of those who have passed away from cancer and aiding people who have, in some way or another, been affected by cancer.
“Showing support to the survivors, those going through treatment and being with those who have lost someone to cancer, is our goal in the foothills. We are a family Relay,” Lori Carrico, chair of the Foothills Relay, said.
Based on the current amount raised by the Foothill Relay teams, the objective seems reasonable. As of April 1, the teams raised $24,624 and that amount is increasing daily. It’s biggest contributions come from Team Clean Sweep, or J’s Maintenance/J’s Maids who have, so far, raised $14,255, which is near its goal of $15,000.
The second in line is the LCPC Halos, who have raised $3,000 and is slowly making progress to reach their goal of $10,000. The other 17 teams continue to raise money as well.
This year marks a transition into a wider variety of participating teams.
“I always love the youth teams that participate, especially when they are led by the students. Two of my favorite teams this year are the Prom Plus team, who have been participating for quite a few years and are the main volunteers of the event, and Crescenta Valley’s Falkon robotics team, who have never participated as their own team before,” Aimee Beck, Team Recruitment co-chair of the Foothills Relay, said.
Aside from the financial donation that the Relay provides for cancer research, the Relay transforms what others may view as a plain marathon into 24 hours full of entertainment, food and people. This year, with the Prom Plus Club leading the way, the games will become an anticipated and major part of the event for everyone to take part in. Despite the fun of the entertainment, most participants look forward to another highlight of the day, the luminaria ceremony.
“My favorite memory from Relay for Life is always the luminaria ceremony. We line the track with paper bags in memory or in honor of someone with cancer, and each bag contains a candle. At night, we all gather around and walk the track as one while a bagpiper leads the way,” Beck said. “It is a very emotional memory.”
Not only does the luminaria remain a memorable experience, it also inspires people to join the Relay.
“A friend asked to help cleanup the track after Relay five years ago. When I went to the luminaria ceremony and the closing, I was hooked. I was the co-chair for two years and have been the chair now two years counting this year,” Carrico said.
To learn how to join or donate to the event, team or individual participants, visit www.relayforlife.org.