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Lathrop Relay for Life on Saturday
Participants in the 2014 Lathrop Relay for Life. - photo by Bulletin file photo

When Jacki Cantu’s sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, she wanted to do something to get involved with the fight.
After asking around and finding out that the Manteca Relay for Life – the largest fundraising effort undertaken by the American Cancer Society – had already passed, she looked at surrounding communities to see if there was any way that she could get involved.
Now she serves as both a team captain and the marketing and publicity chair for the Lathrop Relay for Life, and has taken up the mantle with another family member – her brother-in-law – who was recently diagnosed with renal cancer.
“It gives me the feeling that I’m able to do something, however small it may be,” Cantu said. “If you just sit back you really feel like you can’t do anything about it, but getting involved with something like this changes that.”
On Saturday, Aug. 19, Cantu and her team will be at Valverde Park at 6 a.m. for the start of the fundraiser that has been bringing Lathrop people together for more than a decade to take a stand against a disease that will touch every American at some point in their lives – hoping to raise more than $32,000 this year to donate to the American Cancer Society for programming and research.
And they’re looking for more people to get involved.
According to Cantu, there are currently only 12 teams singed up to participate this year, which will be different than in years past thanks to a decision to open up the event to vendors ranging from independent sellers to medical offices distributing literature about cancer and treatment options.
“People can show up the day of and sign-up to participate,” Cantu said. “We’d like to see as many people as possible come out and support the effort and help raise money and help us meet our goal.”
The theme for this year’s Relay for Life in Lathrop is Children’s Books, and each of the teams is decorating their area and their uniforms as the theme from their favorite. Having a little bit of fun with the theme, Cantu’s team – which includes many of her family members – has selected the children’s book “Everyone Poops” and plans on having adopting elements of the theme in their booth which will include selling brownies cut from a very unique form.
“My daughter got a cookie-cutter with the popular emoji on it so we’re going to sell brownies cut like that,” she said with a laugh. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, and the money raised will go to a good cause that’s near and dear to my heart.”
So far this year the committee has held a murder mystery dinner fundraiser, a fundraiser trip to Jackson Rancheria and sold Jamba Juice cards to help propel them towards their goal before the event even began.
The official Lathrop Relay for Life will begin at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19 at Valverde Park with a Survivor’s Breakfast followed by a Survivor’s Lap. The Luminaria Ceremony, where bags are lit and placed in honor of those who have lost the battle with cancer, will begin around at 8:30 p.m. and the event will wrap up at 10 p.m.
For additional information about Lathrop’s event, to sign up for a team or to make a donation visit

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.