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Relay for Life on tap
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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 $69,000 to bring the world closer to curing cancer.

"It's going to be an incredible program," said event chair Stella James.

The 7th annual Ceres Relay for Life is set for Saturday and Sunday at the Ceres High School football stadium. A total of 34 teams numbering between 12 and 24 team members have signed up since the kickoff and have been actively engaged in fundraising. James is pleased to see the numbers considerably higher than last year's teams.

"It's going well," said James of fundraising efforts. "Due to the economy, we're doing better than we thought. We have more teams than last year which is a plus."

"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 Kandy Thornhill who is assisting with registration.

The theme of the family friendly Relay is "Creating a World with More Birthdays."

Last Sunday the Relay effort included tying purple ribbons around Ceres High School.

It's not too late to be used in some aspect of the Relay, said James. She welcomes anyone who wants to get involved to call her at 606-8508.

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 Saturday 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.

During the opening ceremony, Rosa Pabilla of Ceres will be speaking about her family's recent dealing with cancer. Her two year-old son, Julius Diaz was recently diagnosed with leukemia.

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 that will be provided the entire 24 hours. Disk jockey Dee Ferreira will be playing music. There will be 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, and offer raffle baskets. Each booth will highlight a specific cancer and will offer literature on that cancer.

The American Cancer Society will be manning a "Fight Back" booth that will dispense information on how the ACS disperses money, and cancer awareness to reduce the likelihood of getting 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.

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