Santa Paula Times

Relay for Life: Cancer never sleeps but walkers dedicated to finding a cure

April 28, 2004
Santa Paula News

Because cancer never sleeps, the 3rd Annual Relay for Life will have walkers and runners circling Jones Field for 24 hours starting Saturday at 10 a.m.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesBecause cancer never sleeps, the 3rd Annual Relay for Life will have walkers and runners circling Jones Field for 24 hours starting Saturday at 10 a.m.The May 1-2 event will begin Saturday with the Survivors Walk featuring both young and old who have faced cancer head-on and survived.“Our goal this year is to raise $50,000,” said Ofelia de la Torre, who has been involved with organizing the local relay for three years.River valley residents and service clubs and organizations have been highly supportive of the Relay for Life, which benefits the American Cancer Society.“Last year team participation was three times as much as the first year we started the local relay and we’re expecting even more teams this year,” noted de la Torre.The Survivors Walk is open to everyone who has had cancer and those who would like to take part “can just show up at Jones Field at the high school at 9:30 a.m. to register. Supervisor Kathy Long has been in the Survivors Walk for the last two years and organizers are hoping she will attend again this year; she’s also a survivor,” as is Matt Cooper of Santa Paula, Chairman of the 2004 Relay for Life.Another facet of the event is Saturday’s Luminaria ceremony at 8 p.m., where the candle in each glowing bag represents a loved one lost to cancer or to honor the courage of a survivor for a donation of only $10 each.
“Cancer touches so many lives and everyone is striving – and now also striding - for research and a cure. Every time you turn around someone has cancer. . .it’s so sad,” said de la Torre, who has had four family members stricken with the disease. “My two sisters and brother are still survivors although we lost a sister; it’s very hard.”The American Cancer Society uses the Relay for Life proceeds for research, education and programs for cancer victims and families. “They do great things working for a cure and helping those with the disease,” said de la Torre.Entertainment will help cheer on the walkers and runners using separate lanes and participants are welcome to camp out for the evening to encourage those who circle the track throughout the night.“All the teams try to have someone walking every hour on the hour and teams are still welcome. If you’re not on a team, come and join one, we would love to have someone just come up and take part if they want.”Overall, Relay for Life is “really a celebration of life. . .we’re going to have entertainment, games for the kids and food, we want to make it a fun day that helps everybody. Those who take part in the Survivors March get a free T-shirt, we’re getting a lot of help from Fillmore and Santa Paula youth, there will be opportunity drawings for prizes donated by area merchants. We’ve got a good diverse group and it’s going to be great,” said de la Torre.For more information call de la Torre at 933-9773 or Cooper at 525-6553.If you would like to donate to the Santa Paula Relay for Life: make out a check to the American Cancer Society (with Santa Paula Relay on the memo section) and give it to any relay participant; or visit the high school’s Jones Field the day of the event.Checks can also be mailed to the attention of de la Torre at 110 W. Harvard Blvd. Suite B, Santa Paula, CA 93060.