By Mary O’KEEFE
Montrose is now painted purple, thanks to a group of volunteers, shoe stencils and lots of purple paint.
The annual Paint the Town Purple was held on Saturday morning along Honolulu Avenue in support of the upcoming Foothills Relay for Life on May 11-12.
Purple shoe prints were painted on storefronts of those who support the event.
“All the footprints are facing [west], toward Clark Magnet High School,” said Regan Boone, long time supporter of Foothills Relay for Life.
Foothills Relay for Life is held at Clark Magnet High School. The 24-hour event invites people to create teams and then raise money for the American Cancer Society. The money goes toward cancer research and raising awareness of the disease, but Relay is more than that – it’s a true Crescenta Valley event.
“We are a little different,” Boone said.
Relay for Life is a national program in which supporters walk the track for 24 hours – reminding participants that cancer doesn’t sleep and neither do the cancer research supporters. The Foothills Relay event also has the traditional walkers but adds a CV spin to the event, from the entertainment to the local food.
Painting the Town Purple is a big kick-off event. Chuck Boone has been involved with Relay for years, since his wife and he took part to support their son who had been diagnosed with cancer. Their son lost his leg to cancer, but survived the ordeal.
Survivor recognition is an important part of the Relay. Those who have survived cancer are given gifts and have a special booth set aside for them with information and support at the Relay for Life event.
Toward the end of Saturday evening at Relay, the luminaria ceremony is held. The track is lined with small paper lanterns. Everyone is given a candle and the survivors begin a silent march around the track. They are joined by caregivers, then by everyone. It is a symbol of community and solidarity, a symbol that no one is alone in the battle.
Last Saturday, a small luminaria ceremony took place with teens and Relay supporters walking along Honolulu Avenue armed with glow sticks and flyers promoting the May 11-May 12 Relay For Life event.
“We want everyone to get involved,” said Lori Carrico, Foothills Relay for Life chair.
For more information, visit www.foothillsrelayforlife.com. The event is held at Clark Magnet High School, 4747 New York Ave. from 9 a.m. on May 11 to 9 a.m. May 12.