24-hour fundraiser to roll around the track
Walk around. Listen to bands. Play games. Eat pizza. Wear purple. Swap stories. Stay up to see the sunrise. Be together.
This weekend’s 13th annual Crescent City Relay for Life has all the makings for a great time.
The participants — 27 teams, volunteers, plus whoever shows up — come together to celebrate life and remember people who’ve battled cancer, while they walk around the Del Norte High School track over 24 hours.
This year’s marathon walking will be punctuated by speakers and ceremonies, scored by four live bands, a deejay, games, pizza, a silent auction, a $5,000 raffle drawing and candle-lighting.
From the time Relay for Life begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, to the closing ceremony at 9 a.m. Sunday, an estimated 384 Californians will be diagnosed with cancer, according to state figures, which predict that 231 of those people will still be walking around, listening to music and swapping stories five years later.
Officials say 65 people died of cancer last year in Del Norte.
“I don’t linger on the sadness about it. I linger on the part that, maybe I can do some good about it,” said longtime Relay for Life volunteer Carmen Brooks.
“My husband died of cancer in 2000. January 7,” she said.
Her sister died of cancer a year later. Since then, three generations of the family have gotten involved with Relay for Life.
“You can’t not do something. You can’t just sit back and say, “Yeah it’s a sad thing, but too bad.” You gotta be involved somehow,” Brooks said.
The 68-year-old has run the kids’ camp for 11 out of the past 12 years, working overnight with a handful of volunteers to wrangle from 30 to 50 children as they enjoy face-painting, games, movies, possibly a bouncy house and each other.
“It’s just such a blessing. I can’t explain it anymore than that. Even though it wears the pea-wadding out of me,” Brooks laughed, “The kids are up all the time, even the ones that are surviving cancer, they are living life.”
Brooks stressed that it takes a village to organize this event and support the cause year-round.
Local Relay for Life teams raised about $65,000 last year, money that came back from the American Cancer Society as $110,000 worth of services for Del Norters living with cancer, said event organizer Melanie Barry.
The California Peace Officers Association made a $5,000 donation.
While the Relay for Life raises money for the American Cancer Society, it’s free to walk and attend.