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Cancer survivors ready for Relay

Manteca event takes place May 16-17 at Sierra High

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Cancer survivors ready for Relay

Cancer survivors George Wells, left, and Fred Perez laugh before signing on line Saturday at the Main Street Café for this year's Manteca Relay for Life.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED April 26, 2009 2:18 a.m.
Holly Halleck wasn’t immediately a fan of the idea of being involved with the Manteca Relay for Life.

At the urging of friend and cancer survivor Cheryl Robnett, Halleck agreed to work with both the caregivers and survivors being recognized with the experience of caring for her mother while she was dying of cancer still fresh in her mind.

But hearing the dozens of stories of the survivors that turned out for the event was enough to give Halleck – who is chairing the upcoming event taking place on May 16-17 – the motivation to take on a bigger role.

And celebrating survivors is something that she takes great pride in.

“Just standing there and hearing their stories was such a freeing feeling for me – especially after being my mother’s caregiver which was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my entire life,” Halleck said. “It’s not easy watching somebody die piece-by-piece, but when you get to see people that defied the odds it gives you hope.”

The organizers of the Manteca Relay for Life welcomed all cancer survivors to the Main Street Café Saturday morning to honor them for their perseverance against something that has become too commonplace for most people.

Friends gathered around the tables in the popular eatery for the duration of the morning – with Relay organizers handing out information and taking sign-ups for those who want to get involved.

With cancer affecting almost every American family in some capacity, the concept of Relay for Life – an event that marks its 25th anniversary this year with Manteca hitting the 10-year mark for hosting their own event – has grown significantly and become a major source of funding for the American Cancer Society.

Last year the Manteca event raised $125,000, and on-line donations this year have already topped $17,000 and continue to grow every week.

And according to Robnett, the overall atmosphere of the event for survivors is to celebrate the life that they have and honor those who lost the battle against the heinous disease.

“We celebrate life everyday and that’s an important thing to do,” she said. “It’s amazing to see all of those people – survivors and those that just want to support the event – out there walking around the track.
“It’s amazing to think about what we can do to stop this disease.”

For more information about the event or how to sign up and help fight back against cancer, visit or contact the American Cancer Society in Stockton at 941-2676 or in Modesto at 544-9279.

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