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Manteca Relay for Life gears up for May 16
pic manteca-relay n-LT
From left, Nic Cantrell, Krissy Vickerman, Misty McLeod, Shelley, Grilly, Kim Bettencourt, Debi Cantrell and Jessica Smith are once again joining the fight against cancer by getting involved in Relay For Life Manteca on May 16. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

Relay for Life Manteca is back at East Union High.

Thirty-four teams will join the fight against cancer on Saturday, May 16, circling the track at Dino Cunial Field after spending the previous year at Dell’Osso Farm.

Organizers met Thursday at Home Depot to discuss plans for the Relay. They’re pleased with a return to the stadium, but opted against the traditional overnight event.

“It was a monetary decision,” said Kim Bettencourt of the Manteca Relay. “Rather than use that money on the facility-use fees (for the second day), we thought putting it towards our donor dollars would be more important.”

She’s been involved in Relay for the past eight years.

Bettencourt was 16 when her goddaughter was diagnosed with cancer. Her mother is a breast-cancer survivor.

“Everyone here was touched by cancer. It could be their own, a family member or a friend,” she added.

On Sunday, the Relay for Life folks will be “painting town purple.” By that, they’ll be tying purple ribbons around town.

As for actual day of the event, Relay – a signature event of the American Cancer Society (each year, more than 4 million people in over 20 countries raise much-needed funds while causing awareness to save lives from cancer) – will be scheduled from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

“There will be no camp out. We will still have the Luminaria ceremony and light the bags to remember our loved ones (who lost their battle to cancer) or those battling the disease,” Bettencourt said.

The Luminaria was called off last year due to strong winds at Dell’Osso Farm, which graciously stepped up and donated the facilities to Relay for Life Manteca after a scheduling conflict at the high school stadium.

Another meeting is planned for May 14 to issue campsites to the participating teams and to provide any additional information.

“This is an exciting event,” said Debi Cantrell. “It raises awareness, provides knowledge and is a cause for celebration.”

For more information, call 209.524.7242 or log on to