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June 20, 2006 > Relay For Life of Fremont-Newark

Relay For Life of Fremont-Newark

by Julie Grabowski

"Hope Progress Answers." This is the banner under which the American Cancer Society (ACS) strives each day toward creating a cancer-free tomorrow. Throughout the summer, local communities aid the Society's efforts by participating in Relay For Life, the largest nonprofit fundraising event in the world.

Twenty-one years ago, a lone runner took to the track of Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. to raise money for his local ACS office. Surgeon Gordy Klatt spent 24 hours on his feet doing what he loved - running. He covered 83 miles and raise $27,000 from supporters who paid $25 apiece to walk or run with him. An idea was born. Today, that solitary event has expanded to more than 5,000 relay events in the United States and 23 other countries around the globe.

On Saturday, June 24, Fremont and Newark lace up their running shoes to join the fight with 50 teams on their roster. Each event targets a specific aspect of the fight for cures such as breast cancer or smoking hazards. An accompanying motto provides a theme for the event's camps, booths and activities. Teams are asked to have at least one member on the track for all 24 hours in recognition of the sleeplessness afflicting many cancer victims.

Local supporter, Cathy Norvell's sister was diagnosed with cancer a week after the 2004 relay and died six months later. She also lost a nephew to the disease this past February. Norvell says her family is out to find a cure. Displaying the motto "Race for the remedy with the Cure Crusaders," Norvell's team will be selling jewelry, candy and her husband's famous beef jerky to raise the total of their current donation of $1,700. Tired of seeing people taken by cancer, Norvell says Relay For Life has become an important yearly family event.

Ceremonies open with a Survivors Lap at 9 a.m. on the 24th, in celebration of battles won, showing that cancer can be beat. At dusk the track will be lined with special candles called "luminaries." The luminaries bear the names of those lost to cancer, those currently in the fight, and those that have triumphed. The Luminary Ceremony symbolizes hope and perseverance, honoring loved ones and lighting the way for progress.

Activities and entertainment run for 24 hours as well with bands Issue 10 and Ruthway, the Niosha dance group, Fremont seniors Tai Chi, and the a cappella group, Second Verse, from Newark Memorial High School. There will be a kid's camp from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., a watermelon eating contest, scavenger hunt, and a midnight pajama lap. All the while, Ohlone College station KOHL 89.3, an event sponsor, will broadcast live from the track.

Both audience and participants will be encouraged to sign a banner that will be displayed with other banners creating a "Wall of Hope" to be displayed in Washington, D.C. in September. An advocacy tent will also be set up where people can sign letters to their congressional representatives.

Relay For Life is a volunteer-driven event that raised $115,000 in the Tri-Cities in 2005, and has a goal of $120,000 for this year. The funds are used for research and several support programs designed to help those with cancer through the arduous journey of diagnosis, treatment, and survival.

Among the programs are Road to Recovery, where volunteers provide transportation between patient's homes and treatment facilities; I Can Cope, a series of classes led by doctors and health care professionals to share information and practical tips for dealing with cancer treatment; and Look Good...Feel Better, a workshop for female cancer patients to learn beauty techniques in collaboration with the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) Foundation and the National Cosmetology Association.

Everyone is welcome to attend at any time during the event. Pick up literature, take a lap with the Relay Walkers, buy a luminary or make a donation. Cancer survivors arriving before 9 a.m. on Saturday can register as such and join in the Survivors Lap. Relays will also be held in Milpitas June 23 to 24. Union City will be hosting their first event Aug. 5 to 6.

The American Cancer Society can be reached at (800) ACS-2345 (227-2345) or by visiting

For more information on the Fremont-Newark event, contact Jackie Kranich at (510) 794-1938 or visit

Relay For Life of Fremont-Newark
June 24-25
9 a.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday
Newark Memorial High School
39375 Cedar Blvd., Newark
(510) 794-1938

Relay For Life of Milpitas
June 23-24
6 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday
Milpitas Sports Center
1325 E. Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas
(408) 871-1062

Relay For Life of Union City
August 5-6
10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday
James Logan High School
1800 H Street, Union City
(925) 934-7640

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