It’s a sad fact that most of us know someone who has cancer. The annual Benicia Relay For Life is a community event that allows family and friends to come together for support. The event is a 24-hour fundraising relay at Benicia High School, August 25 at 9am. Teams are formed, and team members take turns walking in a relay all day and all night.
This year’s goals include 50 teams and raising $100,000. Last year’s event raised $84,000. As of mid-July, 38 teams had signed on, with 205 participants. Fundraising stands at just under $32,683. The excitement in town is palpable as Benicia becomes a continuous string of parties and events, through creative fundraisers from bingo games to bling bras. There’s a high priority placed on the fun and celebratory aspect of the event. August 1st, volunteers will “paint the town purple” with ribbons and banners lining First Street.
“Relay for Life offers everyone an opportunity to celebrate loved ones and friends who are winning their battle with cancer, and to remember those we have lost. We are fighting back to stop this horrific, life-changing disease. We do this by walking in relay form for 24 hours; the 24 hours depicts a day in the life of a cancer patient who lives with this disease 24 hours every day,” says event chairperson Leeann Cawley. “There will be entertainment, food and camaraderie throughout the relay. It begins with a Survivors Lap around the track, honoring those who have survived the disease. After dark, both survivors and victims are honored and remembered during the Luminaria Ceremony. Candles are lit and placed inside sand-filled bags, which bear the name of someone affected by cancer.”
Councilwoman Christina Strawbridge, former Relay chairperson, knows how much work is entailed to make the event a success. “We are all affected by cancer. This is a great event that draws people together and provides hope to everyone—cancer victims, cancer survivors and loved ones,” she says. “It is so worthwhile. Everyone can get involved.”
Relay for Life events take place throughout the country, and have been instrumental in raising not only funds, but awareness as well. For more information, visit relayforlife.org/beniciaca, or facebook.com/BeniciaRelay.