Thursday, Jun. 14, 2012
Chowchilla Relay for Life celebrates 10 years Saturday
CHOWCHILLA The Chowchilla Relay for Life teams and committee members have been busy throughout the year preparing to celebrate Chowchilla's 10th year.
The "birthday celebrations" themed relay begins Saturday at 9 a.m. by honoring cancer survivors in an opening ceremony.
"In the past nine years the Chowchilla community has supported the American Cancer Society Relay for Life with donations of over $500,000 to go towards cancer research, advocacy and much more," said Paula Hansen, Chowchilla Relay for Life chairwoman.
"I look forward to seeing the community come out and support the fight against cancer. Each year it's like a reunion on the track. I see cancer survivors in their purple shirts that I've seen each year and just give them a hug because I admire their fight and I'm glad they are there. I get choked up when I hear about the ones that have lost the fight and just think, 'That is why I'm involved in relay.' "
Relay runs for 24 hours, with a closing ceremony at 8 a.m. Sunday. Throughout the day, music, games and raffles will take place around the field.
At dusk, the emotional part of relay starts. During the luminaria ceremony, glowing bags etched with the names of survivors or loved ones lost to cancer will surround the track. As names are read, attendees walk around the track, observing the bags and paying respect to their loved ones.
"I encourage everyone to attend the luminaria ceremony. It shows why we are involved, to celebrate together, to remember those who have battled against cancer and to fight back against the disease," said Hansen.
"The fight against cancer isn't just a weekend fight, it's a year-round battle," she added. "Those wishing to donate, help or get involved in relay can do so anytime."
Relay for Life is free to the public. Along with raffles and music, food will be sold throughout the day. Relay for Life items including shirts, hats and bags also will be sold.
Smoking, alcohol and dogs are not allowed.
For more information, or to purchase a luminaria bag or to donate to relay, visit www.relayforlife.org/chowchillaca or call Paula Hansen at (559) 223-4108.