The Foothills Relay for Life benefitting the American Cancer Society was held last weekend at Clark Magnet High School. The local event began 13 years ago and, after this weekend, has raised $1 million.
Starting Friday evening, teams came onto the school’s field to set up chairs, pop-ups, tables and tents, forming a temporary city. Bonners Equipment Rentals brought onto the field big canopies to accommodate the stage that provided entertainment for most of the 24 hours. Event Power Associates met the electrical needs and Crescenta Valley Water District donated a generator to keep the power going.
By 9 a.m. on Saturday, cancer survivors were ready to walk the Survivor Lap, with caregivers close behind, to launch the Foothills Relay for Life 2013. From then, walkers from each of the more than a dozen teams started to walk and didn’t stop for 24 hours. David Schmidt emceed for most of Saturday, working at keeping the spirits and energy levels of the participants high.
A lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers was provided by Montrose Travel. Then more music and an open mic for kids and adults to share their talents.
Just before dinner (provided by Leon’s Bakery and Café), Crescenta Valley High School Prom Plus Club President Dylan Sylvester cut his long hair, ending a month-long fundraiser that yielded close to $500. He now boasts a bit of a buzz cut.
The luminaria ceremony began at 9 p.m. with the presentation of the 2013 inductee to the Foothills Relay For Life Hall of Fame, Liza and Tim Morelli. The couple are the owners of Bonners Equipment Rentals and have been generous supporters of the event for seven years.
As night fell, Jonetta (Green) Thomas, a sergeant with the California State Military Reserve, took to the stage and spoke about how cancer affected her life. Both her father and mother died from cancer, and she herself is a survivor of two types of cancer.
Then the candles for the luminaria were lit. The luminaria ceremony is a somber reminder of those affected by cancer. Lunch sack-sized bags, each with a name printed on it, lined the track. Each held a candle and after all were lit and the field’s lights extinguished, a silence fell upon the crowd.
With the words Hope and Cure lighting the way, hundreds of participants, each holding a small candle in their hands, made their way around the track while the names on the bags were read from the stage. Some relay walkers stopped to read a name, and several sat quietly to the side next to a bag displaying their loved one’s name.
Once the candles were blown out and the field lights turned back on, a late night movie entertained some while others tried to get sleep. But the track was never empty.
Late night snacks came from Burger King, Togo’s and Weinerschnitzel, coffee provided by Gavina Coffee all in La Crescenta. Bright and early on Mother’s Day, teams disassembled their tents and gathered up their belongings in preparation for the 9 a.m. relay end. At 8:50 a.m., participants gathered one last time at the stage to celebrate the top five individual fundraisers: Ed Waldheim, Chris Axelgard, Regan Boone, Amanda Granier and Diane Leclerc. Also recognized were the top five teams: Team Clean Sweep, LCPC Halos, Big Willy Style, Panthers Against Cancer and Prom Plus Club.
Logan Rodgers, who came to Relay after lifeguard training class, and Jay Torres, walked the track for the 24 hours.
Donations are still be accepted on the Foothills Relay for Life website, www.foothillsrelayforlife.com.
Next year the event is scheduled for April 12-13.