Relay For Life returns


Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune File Photo

Cancer survivors kick off the annual Relay For Life event in 2019 at Lions Town and Country Park as they carry banners and take the first traditional and honorary lap.

 

After a two-year hiatus, the American Cancer Society Relay For Life is returning to Madera.


Opening ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. next Saturday at Lions Town and Country Park for the first time since 2019. Madera City Councilwoman Cece Gallegos will be the keynote speaker.


“We’re ecstatic,” Madera’s Relay For Life Chairperson Charlotte Brewer said. “We’re excited to raise more money because revenue has been down for the past three years. It’s such a great community event. We’ve missed all the people.”


The Relay For Life movement is dedicated to helping communities fight cancer. Fundraising, volunteers and awareness raised, communities are teaming up — virtually or in person to make a difference. When we rally together in the fight against cancer, we can accomplish anything, according to its website.


Everyone has been touched by cancer in some way. The community, friends, relatives, caregivers, and survivors use their special passion to help the American Cancer Society save lives, celebrate and lead the fight for a world without cancer.


Celebrating its silver anniversary, the 24-hour event brings cancer survivors, family members and caregivers together in a common goal.


“Since the pandemic, our local Relay has been merged with surrounding communities and is a travel relay,” said Brewer. “We are now known as Relay For Life, Heart of California. combining our fundraising efforts and working hard. “We don’t have as many teams this year. Our Relay For Life group was merged with Los Banos, Atwater, Merced, Fresno and Eastern Madera County. Since our group was a large revenue maker, they merged and it’s a traveling Relay For Life. This year, Madera is hosting. Next year, it will be in Los Banos and then in Merced/Atwater. The American Cancer Society had to let go of a number of people because the revenues weren’t in. They have fewer people running these merged relays. It’s just different.”


“The first lap will follow with a celebration lap of our survivors and then joined by caregivers,” Brener said. “They will remember those we’ve lost at dusk with a moving luminaria ceremony. Sunday morning brings Wendy Glissman as the Fight Back speaker around 8:30 a.m., followed by a final lap.


“I don’t think the participation levels will increase because we won’t be hosting it,” Brewer said of future Relay For Life events. “We will host community-specific things in Madera. Hopefully, those will have the participation levels.”


Come on out for 24 hours of community and family-friendly fun, Brewer said.


To donate online, visit www.relayforlife.org/heartofcalifornia