Relay For Life

The annual “Relay For Life,” a cancer public awareness and fundraising campaign by the American Cancer Society, will be held from July 19 at 6 July 20 at 6 p.m. at the Del Norte High School track in Crescent City.

“I have had friends that have been touched by cancer and it is horrible to watch,” said local “Relay For Life” event leader Chelsea Sanyaolu. “My goal is to never have any of my family touched by cancer and to one day be part of the cure.”

Sanyaolu said the relay is a key fundraiser in the national battle against cancer.

“To raise money locally, we have onsite fundraisers, including a dunk tank, silent auction, and food for sale,” she said. “Also, each individual team raises money on their own, such as car washes, bake sales and other events.”

The relay will begin with a survivors’ lap, directly followed by a survivors’ dinner.

Perhaps the most touching aspect of the event is the Luminaria ceremony, which remembers those who have been lost to cancer and also celebrates survivors. The Luminaria is designed to show everyone affected by the disease that there is light in the darkness.

The ceremony begins at 9:30 p.m. with a guest speaker, followed by a silent lap for reflection.

This year’s “Relay for Life” features a new ceremony, “The Spirit of Relay,” in recognition of participants and teams who will be encouraged to keep fighting through the night. The ceremony will be conducted at midnight.

The relay continues Saturday with music, entertainment, the silent auction and the dunk tank featuring public officials.

The Del Norte county sheriff, the Crescent City chief of police, probation officers, the director of solid waste, the manager of recology, and Curry County Supervisor Roger Gitlin all have volunteered to take the plunge, according to event organizers.  

The auction will be held from 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

“We will have three cheerleading teams involved at this “Relay For Life” to help cheer everyone at the event,” Sanyaolu said.

The closing ceremony to recognize volunteers, the community’s hard work, and the ongoing battle to rid the world of cancer will be held at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

“Relay for Life” began in 1985, according to organizers, when Dr. Gordon Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington, raising money to help the American Cancer Society.

For 24 hours, Klatt circled the track at the University of Puget Sound. Friends, family and patients watched and supported him as he walked and ran more than 83 miles, raising $27,000 through pledges.

As he circled the track, he reportedly thought of how he could get more people involved. Klatt envisioned having teams participate in a 24-hour fundraising event.

The next year, 19 teams were part of the first “Relay For Life” event at the historical Stadium Bowl and raised $33,000.

After battling stomach cancer, Klatt died of heart failure on Aug. 3, 2014 at the age of 71.

For more information, call 707-951-9154.

Pilot Staff Writer Jeremy C. Ruark contributed to this story.


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