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Lathrop Relay for Life set for Aug. 29
More volunteers needed; breakfast to honor survivors
Lathrop Relay for Life survivor committee co-chair Chris Moore ties one of 350 purple ribbons that were placed all over the community. - photo by HIME ROMERO
LATHROP – Lathrop’s first ever 24-hour Relay for Life is looking for cancer survivors to honor.

“There’s still room for teams and sponsors, and we’re looking for survivors. They will be provided a free breakfast and recognized. That’s one of the primary purposes of the Relay,” said Dan Mac Neilage who is chairman of the event which will take place Saturday, Aug. 29, at 9 a.m.

Breakfast will be served starting at 8 a.m. at Lathrop High School where the Relay will be held. The meal will kick off the rest of the activities for the next 24 hours.

Unlike the Relay in Manteca where the walkers walk on the oval dirt track in the Sierra High School football field, the Lathrop Relay for Life will have participants walking on the cemented area in Lathrop High’s sprawling quad center.
Various groups won’t have to set up tents for their booths either to protect them from the sun. They will be setting up in the breezeways surrounding the quad.

Mac Neilage, who lost his wife to Lou Gehrig’s disease and who is himself a cancer survivor, said there are 12 working committees that will be in charge of the various events.  There is a committee that is in charge of handling money “to make sure every dollar goes to where it’s intended,” he said. Another committee will take care of the survivors’ breakfast, while another will make sure there will be entertainment provided for all guests. Mac Neilage’s daughter, Melissa, is co-chairing the touching luminaria event in the evening when candles will be lighted in honor of cancer victims and survivors. Karen Dell’Osso heads the logistics committee which will make sure everything will play out as planned.

Registrations for all survivors will be held Saturday, Aug. 22, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Big Dan’s Neighborhood Diner located at Towne Centre Drive in Lathrop just behind Target Store.

The diner owned by Mac Neilage is “kind of Relay information center,” he said.

A cancer survivor need not be the one to register, Mac Neilage said. That person could be “a parent or a loved one. You can even register somebody from out of town,” he said.

“And you don’t have to live in Manteca,” he added. “Many Lathropites attended the Manteca Relay; you’re talking to one of them. Furthermore, the committee from the Manteca Relay had been so gracious; they’ve been helping me with this as well, with the organizing and putting the different committees together.”

Mac Neilage said they would like to see at least 50 survivors at this Relay event.

“We want them to come and be a part of the Relay. We need them to send the message that people don’t have to die from this disease anymore. They need to know other people are fighting this disease, and people are surviving from these diseases. You get this sense of hope, and this is the story that we need to get out to the public,” he said.

Every dollar raised from this event will go to cancer research, he added.

For more details about the Lathrop Relay for Life, call Mac Neilage at (209) 594 6683, or stop by Big Dan’s Neighborhood Diner at Towne Centre Drive behind Target Store at Mossdale Landing.