By Mary O’KEEFE
The annual Foothills Relay for Life 24-hour community event last weekend raised over $83,000 for the American Cancer Society. Teams began setting up tents, pop-ups and other equipment to erect a “temporary city” on the track of Clark Magnet High School in the early evening of Friday night, returning for opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
For organizers like the Waldheim family, Paula Warner, Lori Carrico and Chuck and Regan Boone, and their many volunteers, the day started about 6 a.m. directing the efforts of Bonners Equipment Rentals, Event Power Associates and others who arrived in the wee hours to make sure all was ready for the crowd.
The event kicked off with the traditional Survivor Lap and from that point onward until 9 a.m. Sunday morning at least one member of the two dozen-plus teams was on the track, a reminder that “cancer never sleeps.”
The highlight of the event was the somber luminaria ceremony that took place around 9 p.m. Saturday. Led by a bag piper, the ceremony is a moving candlelight tribute to those who have fought or are fighting cancer.
Team members who raised at least $100 had the privilege of staying the night at Clark to help guarantee that their team always had a presence on the track.
There was plenty of food – most donated by local businesses like Leon Cakes, Berolina Bakery, Edible Arrangements, Burger King, Togos and Wienerschnitzel – and lots of water to keep walkers well hydrated.
During the day, ongoing music was provided and at night movies were shown.
At 9 a.m. Sunday morning, chairman Warner gathered everyone to the stage area where acknowledgements were made for those who raised the most money. Warner also thanked the many volunteers, including CVHS Prom Plus Club, Boys Scouts of America and nursing students from Glendale Community College, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes with organizers to plan and execute the seemingly effortless event.
Donations are still being accepted toward Relay for Life. To donate, visit www.foothillsrelayforlife.org.
Photos by Leonard COUTIN, Steve HERNANDEZ and