Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Barbara Nelson, left, and Caroline Williams of Fairmead Community & Friends donated a “We Are Family” themed gift basket for the raffle at the 2016 Relay For Life Mixer at Central Valley Community Bank.
An effort to raise money to fight cancer has a strong local following, with hundreds of participants. They are part of a much larger effort, however.
Every year more than 4 million people take part in Relay for Life programs nationwide.
Relay for Life is essentially a 24-hour slumber party for all ages, and in Madera transforms Town and Country Park into a purple paradise of campsites. Beginning at 9 a.m. May 6 through 7, Madera will play host to its 20th annual Relay for Life.
A free kick-off mixer, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, will be held by the Madera District Chamber of Commerce and Central Valley Community Bank, 1919 Howard Road. This will get the ball rolling for this year’s fundraising event.
“Our theme this year is Carnival of Hope,” said Charlotte Brewer, chair of the event. “At the mixer there will be hors d’oeuvres, beverages and opportunities to win prizes.”
There are 26 teams registered so far for this year’s event, Brewer said. To join a team or to register a new team online visit relayforlife.org/maderaca
Keynote speaker during this year’s opening ceremonies will be Mary Ann Seay director of Madera Parks and Community Services and herself a cancer survivor.
Brewer said last year’s local event raised $93,400. This was accomplished with 55 teams — 488 participants honoring 139 registered cancer survivors. Those numbers do not reflect additional attendees who turned out to show their support the day of the event.
This year the committee is hoping to raise $100,000.
The ACS has a good record of utilizing the money raised to provide services to cancer patients, Brewer said.
Last year the ACS provided 16,500 cancer patients with transportation to treatment.
More than 1 million calls were answered at the cancer hot-line, providing information and resources at 800-227-2345.
In 2012 ACS helped 41,000 patients and their caregivers with $26 million in lodging costs while traveling for treatment. More than 89,000 patients were helped to understand their diagnosis and find the help they needed.
Since 1946, the ACS has invested more than $3.9 billion in cancer research.