24-hour relay reminds participants ‘cancer never sleeps’
Well over 300 participants spent 24 hours walking the track of Wilson Stadium in Ramona, making a difference by raising funds to fight back against cancer in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Event participants walk overnight because cancer never sleeps, and they have a chance to remember those who lost their battles with cancer. Jeri Sutter is the team captain of “All Night for the Fight.” Her 13-member team was the event’s top fundraiser, raising over $8,300 for the cause.
Sutter decided that this year was the time to participate. She had lost her father to cancer in 2009, but said that participating in last year’s event would have been too much for her.
She knew that she would eventually get involved in something like this. She lined up a team of 12 other women, and each had her reasons for participating.
The team was spurred on by member Shawn Feuerstein to raise as much money as they could through friendly competition, Sutter said, adding that the team spirit and the motivation caught like a fever.
“I’m so proud of this event,” said Becky Harvey, relay co-chair.
She has participated in the event for the past seven years, starting as a walker for the cause.
She’s seen the event grow.
“Everybody asks, ‘how do we raise this money?’…but if you point blank ask people for $20 they give it. Knowing that 95 percent of it goes towards the cause, it’s really, really easy for me to ask,” she said.
Harvey is the school librarian at James Dukes Elementary and, before she reads to the students, she gives them what she calls “Ms. Becky love.” She tells the students that they are the future and they can make a difference.
“It’s not about the kind of shoes that you wear, or the bag that you own, or the car that you drive; it’s about making this world a better place because you’re in it,” she said. “And all of these people are doing that, and I’m just very, very proud.”
Lisa Miller was event chairman.
“The excitement of the community and people wanting to get involved has completely changed with this…everybody wants to be involved now,” Miller said.
They aim to make a bigger presence within the community as a way to generate more interest and get even more people involved.
The event also hosted a luncheon for cancer survivors and their families.
Tina DeStefano, a cancer survivor, spoke to fellow survivors about her experiences battling cancer and about the support she received from her friends and family.
This year’s relay raised $48,000. Last year the event raised $40,000.
More information about the event is available at www.relayforlife.org/ramonaca.
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