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News arrow Features arrow Relay For Life: ACS events raise $31,800

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Relay For Life: ACS events raise $31,800

A Family Fun Carnival took place on the Brookings-Harbor High School football field while raising money for the battle against cancer during the annual Relay For Life.

The American Cancer Society event, which was Saturday evening and Sunday morning, brought the total raised to $31,800.

Ten teams participated in the relay, which involved team members carrying a baton and walking the track all night. 

Opening ceremonies began with the presentation of the flag by Sam Vitale of Vietnam Veterans of America while the national anthem was sung by Kristin Villavicencio and her daughter, Tamlyn Sallander. That was followed by a welcome address by Bonnie Ell, American Cancer Society staff partner, and a short speech by Jeremy Davis, associate administrator of Sutter Coast Hospital, the headlining sponsor.

Badge of Courage recipient Lola Mello, 7, of Gasquet, came up to the stage with her parents. Her mother, Maia, told the story of the night her husband took Lola to the emergency room at Sutter Coast Hospital, and within an hour received word that something was terribly wrong. Her daughter was diagnosed with cancer in the bone marrow, a form of leukemia.

Lola was referred to as being brave and the family is optimistic that she was recover, thanks to improvements in treatments.

Grand Marshal Sam Dotson talked about how cancer has become a family situation. He said that 37 years ago his wife had cancer and he spent his time taking care of her. Three years ago, it was his turn for her to take care of him.

Cancer survivors were asked to line the track to take the first lap.

After the lap, festivities began. While at least one team member was taking a lap, which included Brookings firefighters walking one mile in full firefighter gear, other team members and visitors could visit the many booths or take part in the activities, such as games, a bounce house and face painting.

Among the first activities was a lasagna dinner, prepared by Chetco Activity Center, for the survivors and participants.

Capping the activities was the luminaria ceremony at 10 p.m. Luminaria are decorated bags with a lighted candle illuminating it. Each light is in honor of a victim or survivor of cancer.

During the activity, everyone was asked to sit in the stands to pay homage to those who have battled cancer. Everyone attending the event was given a candle to carry for one lap around the track.

People attending the Relay For Life could watch a Zumba demonstration, a “Miss”ter Relay contest, a cardboard box contest and more.

Coffee and snacks were available all night, served by Brookings-Harbor High School football players led by Dan O’Brien.

The top individual fundraisers were Rhonda Gardenheir, $2,185; Michael Humphreys, $1,140; and Rose Gabrielson, $1,000.

The top fundraising teams were the Gardenheir Gang, $6,197; Good Sam Dream Team, $3,471; and Fred Meyer, $2,639.

Ell gave a special thanks to the Relay For Life of Curry County Committee members who worked hard to put the event on: Kristin and Jason Villavicencio, Rhonda Gardenheir, Jaime Armstrong, Linda Kockritz, Sue Oliver, Misty Sturdevant and Melissa Myer.

Money raised by the event helps at the local level through Friends of Curry County. The funds also assist in cancer research associated with the American Cancer Society. In Oregon, $5.5 million is spent on research, Ell said. 

One of the major recent breakthroughs has happened at Boise State University in Idaho where researchers have discovered a treatment that keeps breast cancer from spreading to other organs, Ell said.

Donations continue to be accepted, and plans are underway for the 2015 Relay For Life. For more information, contact Ell at 541-813-1459 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  

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