Relay for Life raises funds to beat cancer

By: Susan Belknap, Placer Herald editor
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For more photos: Relay for Life in Rocklin raises thousands

A threatening dark sky and a few raindrops didn’t damper the spirits of more than 700 people last weekend.
The crowd was ready to participate in the annual Relay for Life held at Rocklin High School.
According to Doreen Prado, chairwoman for the event, Rocklin has hosted the 24-hour celebration and fundraiser held in honor of cancer victims and survivors for eight years.
The festivities for this year’s 24-hour event began Saturday morning on the Rocklin High School track with opening ceremonies that featured introductions and speeches from a few cancer survivors including Tina Macuha of “Good Day Sacramento” who said she was diagnosed this year with breast cancer.
“I have a history of breast cancer in my family,” she told the crowd. “You don’t know what cancer is like until you see it yourself.”
Macuha spoke of the importance of cancer patients having support.
“It’s easy to get down,” she said. “The power of positive strength is so much better than being down.”
As soon as the introductions were complete, a sea of purple emerged as people of all ages dressed in purple T-shirts gathered to take their places to walk around the high school track together before the rest of the crowd.
Peggy Deganna of Rocklin was one such survivor who has been working and participating in Relay for Life events for several years.
“I’ve been cancer-free for 42 years. It’s a miricle,” Deganna said. “Walking that first lap with all the survivors was emotional. The key I tell everyone is to get all those mammograms and pap smears.”
For survivor and Rocklin resident Jan Applegate, being a part of the Relay festivities was “overwhelming.”
“I’m a nine-year breast cancer survivor,” Applegate said.
Volunteer Dylan Starks of Roseville was on hand helping with the luminaria ceremony that was to be held Saturday night.
“I’m here to support members of my family who have had cancer,” Starks said.
Prado’s co-chair, Christina Breiner said it’s the sense of the community coming together to help cancer survivors that makes Relay important.
“It’s a way for us as individuals to do something for cancer,” Breiner said.
Volunteer Brandon Pohlman said helping out at the Relay gives people hope. He said he feels it’s important to help people out when they need it.
While final figures for the money raised at this year’s Relay are still being calculated, Prado said she estimates the Rocklin Relay will contribute more than $87,000 to the American Cancer Society.
In an effort to give her fundraising an extra push, Prado said she would get a buzz cut if she reached her goal of raising $500. Since she more than achieved that goal and raised about $1,500, Saturday afternoon Prado had her hair cut on stage in a “buzz” style for all to see.