LATHROP – It has raised tens of thousands of dollars for cancer research and helped unite a community.
And this weekend, the Lathrop Relay for Life – the 24-hour cancer walk that raises money for the American Cancer Society – will do that again in hopes of adding to the arsenal of the world’s foremost scientists working to find a cure for a disease that has touched every American in one form or another.
“There is not a family that hasn’t been affected by cancer – we’ve lost a lot of wonderful people in the last year,” said Lathrop relay chair Linda Rose. “It’s wonderful to have a community that is 100 percent behind you. Everyone you talk to about this is enthusiastic, and that means everything to the people who having to organize and plan and put everything together.”
The event this year will be dubbed “Carnival for a Cure” and will feature a number of carnival games to tie the entire event together along with carnival-style foods like corn-on-the-cob, cotton candy, hot dogs and others. The relay, which is being held Valverde Park on 5th Street, will begin on Saturday, Aug. 9 at 10 a.m.
A survivor brunch is set to begin at 11 a.m. following the opening ceremonies, and International cuisine cooked up by local residents like pancit and lumpia – Filipino noodles and eggrolls – tamales, red beans and rice and spaghetti will be featured in a dinner that runs from 4 to 6 p.m.
The luminaria ceremony, where people light candles and place them inside of bags that line the walking route in honor of those who battled or are currently battling cancer, will begin at 9 p.m. with a brief coffee and hot chocolate reception prior.
In a unique twist to this year’s Relay for Life, mayoral candidate Rosalinda Valencia has announced that on Saturday at 3:15 inside of the gymnasium at the Lathrop Community Center she’ll be shaving her head after raising the $500 she sought for the organization.
“It’s one of the more outlandish things that I’ve heard of during a campaign, but if she’s raising money then good on her,” said resident Regina Erwin. “Even if it’s a stunt it raises money and awareness for a good cause.”
According to Lathrop Relay for Life’s web page, 23 teams consisting of 185 participants have raised more than $35,000 worth of pledges so far this year.
The Relay for Life was started in 1985 by Tacoma surgeon Gordy Klatt who spent 24 hours walking around the track at the University of Puget Sound to raise money for the American Cancer Society. In all he ended up walking 83 miles and raised $27,000. Klatt passed away on Sunday from complications stemming from a heart condition. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2012.
For more information about the event visit www.relayforlife.org. A search bar on the main page allows the user to search for Lathrop’s overall site, or individual teams based on specific names. Donations can be made there.