• WHAT: The 24-Hour Lathrop Relay for Life
• WHERE: Valverde Park
• WHEN: Starts with a Survivors Lap at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. and ends with a Fight Back Ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 28, at 9 a.m.
• MORE INFO: Visit www.relayforlife.org/lathropca
LATHROP – William Smith set out last year to collect as many pennies as he possibly could to benefit the Lathrop Relay for Life.
The 9-year-old Cub Scout ended up pulling in more than $1,400 on his own by asking friends and neighbors for their donations. The seed was planted then and there to get involved with an organization that struck a chord in his heart after watching his aunt battle and eventually overcome breast cancer.
This year he’s part of a 26-member team that includes his entire family. They’ve already raised more than $8,400 of their $10,000 goal they’re hoping to reach by the time the event begins on Aug. 27 at Valverde Park.
“It felt good to do something about it once she got cancer,” Smith said. “We would go by her house and check on her, and sometimes she wasn’t feeling good. She walked with me last year, and this year I’m going to get to cook for her at the Survivor’s Breakfast.
“I’m looking forward to that.”
With the assistance of his 11-year-old sister Noelle, Smith has taken a proactive role in the fundraising for his “Cancer Kickers” team this year. They have been passing out flyers for a special fundraising event at Chili’s, going to people looking for donations and staying involved with everything in the final few months of preparation.
Their team is currently leading all others with money raised.
Seeing her son get involved with something that has affected someone so close to her – and other members of her family as well – makes Carol Smith proud and gives her hope that other young people can also get involved.
“I’m so proud of him for everything that he’s done, and this year even more so,” she said. “This year Noelle has raised $650. They’re so busy with this – I’m proud of the two of them for reaching out and doing everything that they can.”
And their outreach extends beyond the money they’ve raised this far.
So far Noelle has reached out to a friend who lost her mother to colon cancer and has brought the young girl onto their team to honor her memory. She has also talked to a boy in her class – who has a father and grandmother battling cancer. He eventually decided to start his own team for the event.
“Seeing them reach out to others and convincing them to be a part is amazing,” Carol Smith said. “We’re just so glad that we’ve been able to get the support that we’ve received from people in the community.”
The Lathrop Relay for Life kicks off at Valverde Park with a Survivors Lap at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. There will be a Luminaria Ceremony the same day at 8 p.m. to honor those who have succumbed to the disease, and a survivor breakfast on Sunday, Aug. 28, at the Lathrop Community Center at 8:30 a.m. The event will culminate with a Fight Back Ceremony on Sunday at 9 a.m.
For more information about the Lathrop Relay for Life, or to donate money to the cause, visit www.relayforlife.org/lathropca.