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Relay for Life kicks off in Lenwood

Local chapter hosted banquet Friday night

Staff Writer
By the numbers:

•1 in 3 - Approximate amount of women in the U.S. who will develop cancer in their lifetime.

•1 in 2 - Approximate amount of men in the U.S. who will be diagnosed with the disease.

• 1 - Number of diseases which kill more people in the U.S. than cancer does (heart disease).

• 50 - Approximate percent of U.S. cancer deaths that could be prevented if people avoided tobacco products, dieted and exercised and got recommended cancer screenings.

• 4 million - Approximate number of Relay for Life participants in the U.S.

• 20 - Number of other countries that participate in Relay for Life.

Source: American Cancer Society Relay for Life

LENWOOD • The Barstow chapter of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life held their 15th annual kick-off banquet Friday night at the Hampton Inn in Lenwood to jumpstart their fundraising season.

“It’s a little party to get everyone motivated,” Chi Potter, the chapter’s event chairwoman, said.

A community volunteer organization throughout the world and the U.S. with local chapters in all 50 states, Relay for Life aims to empower those struggling with any type of cancer, celebrate those who have overcome it and remember those who lost their lives because of it, according to their website.

The flagship event for the organization is a 24-hour walk, where individuals camp out with teams they have assembled and take turns walking around a track or path. Teams collect donations from the community or hold fundraisers leading up to the event.

The more people on a team, the less walking each person has to do at a time, Tanya Padilla, event co-chairwoman for the Barstow chapter, said.

For those who are disabled or unable to walk, they also have the option of rocking in a rocking chair, Padilla added.

Most walk, or rock, in 30-minute increments.

Already, the chapter has received commitments from 23 teams for the walk which will be held in May at Barstow High — a number Potter said they had never reached by kick off in her nine years with the chapter.

“We have seen tons of new people tonight,” Padilla noted, but added they also like to see the same faces because it means they’re coming back.

Issac Padilla, committee chairman for team development and recruitment, is a relatively new face. He joined the chapter last year after a good friend had become affected by the disease.

“It’s getting to know and be a part of a good cause,” he said.

He signs up volunteers and individuals for their own team or other teams. He said the chapter raised $143,000 last year — more than all regional chapters combined and that included Hesperia, Apple Valley and Victorville. They hope to reach $150,000 this go around.

Aside from the walk, the chapter hosts additional events throughout the year to raise funds. Currently, a Valentine’s Day dance and fashion show are in the planning stages.

Friday’s event featured dinner bought and prepared by the chapter, raffled-off prizes and a guest speaker in Cindy Rattray, a seven-year cancer survivor.

Before the start, Potter gave her appreciation to the crowd.

“We know this community has a huge heart,” she said.

When asked about their thoughts of why participation has seemingly increased this year, the chairwoman and co-chair pointed to the frequency in which people’s lives are being affected, in someway, by the disease.

“More people are being diagnosed,” Tanya Padilla said.

Though, without hesitation, Potter followed up: “But, even more people are surviving.”

To learn more about the Barstow chapter of Relay for Life, contact barstowrelayforlife@gmail.com.


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