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Relay celebrates cancer survivors, honors its victims

By: Amanda Calzada, Placer Herald Correspondent
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In the pursuit of creating a world with more birthdays, Rocklin residents and the American Cancer Society are teaming up to celebrate Rocklin’s 11th annual Relay for Life, a 24-hour event starting at 10 a.m. Saturday and concluding at 10 a.m. on Sunday at Granite Oaks Middle School. “Relay For Life offers the community the chance to come together for 24 hours to battle a disease that affects everyone 365 days a year,” said Sarah Evingham, Senior Relay for Life Manager in the California division of the American Cancer Society, the agency that hosts Relay for Life events in the greater Sacramento area. Twelve new community teams, 18 committee members, 15 sponsors, and 31 registered teams are gearing up to exceed the $67,000 raised during the 2011 Relay for Life in Rocklin. Rocklin’s relay, however, is just one of 5,000 relays that occur annually across the globe. Relay For Life, the world’s largest community-based fundraiser, celebrates the lives of cancer survivors, remembers those who have lost the battle to cancer, and fights back against the disease. Funds raised are used to support the American Cancer Society’s free programs for cancer patients and their families. Participating team members take turns walking or running around the track for 24 hours to represent the reality that cancer never sleeps. Theme of this year’s event is “The power of one plus one; how you can be a cancer fighting superhero.” This weekend’s Relay event will have a Caregiver’s tent to support the caregivers and survivors in the community. Survivors will be the guests of honor at a free breakfast on Saturday morning. “There are still so many people who don’t know what Relay for Life is or why it is important for them to join us,” said Evingham, adding that the event is “emotionally moving.” Activities are offered throughout the event for people of all ages and interests, including line dancing lessons, Bingo and a cake walk. A kids’ zone with age-appropriate activities will be set up. A Mariachi band and disc jockey will be offering music throughout the event. Highlight of the 24-hour event will be the luminaria and remembrance ceremony to honor those who have lost their lives to cancer at 9 p.m. The closing ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. “It’s rewarding to know that there’s a support system within your local community and that your community is standing together to fight back,” said Evingham. While last year an estimated 450 people participated, Evingham added that she would appreciate more participation, even if it’s only for an hour. Those interested in volunteering, fundraising, donating, or joining a team can visit relayforlife.org/rocklinca or e-mail rocklinrelay@gmail.com ________ Relay for Life When: 10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday Where: Granite Oaks Middle School, 2600 Wyckford Blvd., Rocklin Info: relayforlife.org/rocklinca, rocklinrelay@gmail.com