By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
All a go for Ceres Relay for Life
The Ceres Relay for Life gets underway at 8 a.m. Saturday morning and is expected to draw at least a thousand people over the following 24-hour period with these goals: offering support to those affected by cancer and raising $84,500 to bring the world closer to curing cancer.

"Our Ceres community has been extremely successful in raising important funds for the American Cancer Society and has a great time with this event," noted Event Chair Kandy Thornhill.

The theme of the family friendly Relay is "Creating a World with More Birthdays," according to Sheila Doberenz, a American Cancer Society partner.

The 5th annual Ceres Relay for Life is set for Saturday and Sunday at the Ceres High School football stadium. A total of 48 teams numbering between 12 and 24 team members have signed up since the Jan. 11 kickoff and have been actively engaged in fundraising. Thornhill is pleased to see the numbers considerably higher than last year's 29 teams.

"It has been snowballing each year," said Thornhill. "I think people get involved because they realize that everybody has somebody who's had cancer and they know the American Cancer Society does good stuff for people and they just want to make a difference and do something."

Thornhill herself got involved because her mother battled breast cancer and her uncle suffered from a brain tumor before cancer claimed his life.

"You can say I got involved because of my family's history," said Thornhill. "The only way you can make a difference is by doing something."

Teams have been hosting a individual fundraisers as a way to raise their team's goal. Fundraisers have been held at Chevy's and Alfonso's and a number of fast-food outlets. One team hosted a pancake breakfast, while others are selling jewelry, T-shirts and cookbooks.

Last month the Relay effort included tying purple ribbons around Ceres as well as treating cancer survivors to a luncheon in Whitmore Park. Approximately 60 persons turned out for that.

It's not too late to be used in some aspect of the Relay, said Thornhill. She welcomes anyone who wants to get involved to call her at 765-9943.

"We can put them on a team or just come out and help," she said.

Funds raised in Ceres will be used to support the myriads of services and research by the ACS. Besides the medical research, the ACS offers emotional support to cancer patients and families, and volunteers provide rides for patients to chemotherapy treatments.


The Relay gets off to an early start on May 22 when members of the Ceres Lions Club cook and serve up breakfast to cancer survivors between 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. west of the stadium. Survivors are also given a free gift package and invited to walk the first lap at 8:30 a.m. The first lap may be walked by survivors, caretakers or any other supporters of the cause.

For the following 24 hours, team members will take turns around the track, either running, walking, wheeling or being pulled. Each team is supposed to have a member on the track during the 24 hours.

The public is invited to come down and cheer on the walkers and enjoy the entertainment - including karate demonstrations and singers - that will be provided the entire 24 hours. There's also ample opportunities to play games or purchase items being sold at each team's station. All proceeds will benefit the ACS. Some teams will sell food and homemade crafts, offer raffle baskets, and one will have a paintball game. Each booth will highlight a specific cancer and will offer literature on that cancer.

At dusk comes the emotionally touching Luminaria event, which allows anyone to decorate a bag in memory of a loved one in which later a candle will be placed and set around the darkened track as each name is read over the loudspeaker. Luminaries may be purchased for $10 on Saturday morning and afternoon.

"To see all the names of those individuals in this community who have fought the battle with cancer is eye-opening and surprising to recognize so many of our friends and neighbors," said Relay organizer Rissi Keys.

One of the luminaria will undoubtedly be lit in tribute of Madison Magee. Last year's event was held in her honor. She died of cancer last September.

The event goes all night and closes with a Sunday ceremony at 8 a.m. with an announcement of the final fundraising announcement.

To join the Relay effort call Thornhill at 765-9943 or 551-1937; or call co-chairman Lem Klein at 968-9977.