Fun And Fundrais­ing Mark 2018 Re­lay For Life Ef­fort

Escalon Times - - FRONT PAGE - By MARG JACK­SON mjack­son@escalon­

Bring­ing to­gether teams from four com­mu­ni­ties, the com­bined Oak­dale Escalon River­bank Water­ford Re­lay For Life also raised an es­ti­mated $74,000 for the Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety.

The sig­na­ture fundrais­ing event for ACS, the 2018 Re­lay For Life was staged on the cam­pus of Oak­dale High School, with teams set­ting up their tents around the soc­cer fields. Events be­gan with Open­ing Cer­e­monies on Satur­day morn­ing, May 5 at 9 a.m., fea­tur­ing some guest speak­ers, a re­lease of doves and the car­ry­ing of a ban­ner by a group of sur­vivors to be­gin the walk­ing.

The 24-hour team event typ­i­cally sees at least one mem­ber of each team on the track at all times, sig­ni­fy­ing that can­cer never sleeps. There are also spe­cial theme laps, con­tests, mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment and a va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties hosted for can­cer sur­vivors and their care­givers. This year in­cluded a wood heart craft, a gar­den of hope, paint­ing class and a fi­esta din­ner in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo.

Sev­eral sur­vivors from Escalon made the trip to Oak­dale for the day and the Nuts For Life team, un­der the di­rec­tion of Suzanne Longstreth and Sandy Bomer, fea­tured mem­bers from other teams that had pre­vi­ously been in­volved

in the Escalon re­lay. This was the first year in many years that all the com­mu­ni­ties joined to­gether in the ef­fort.

Mu­si­cian Josh Rosen­blum, a fa­vorite at the Escalon re­lays over the years, re­turned to the stage this year and brought his pop­u­lar brand of mu­sic to Oak­dale, while the Rhythm and Moves dance com­pany of Ja­clyn Ortiz also per­formed in the af­ter­noon and Stanis­laus Con­sol­i­dated fire­fight­ers hosted a piñata bash­ing and handed out gift cards to walk­ers on the track.

Unique to the Oak­dale event, the Ms. Re­lay con­test was hosted and Escalon at­ten­dees got to view the guys dress­ing up as women event, an over the top beauty pageant. Con­tes­tants ‘work’ the crowd for cash do­na­tions to help them win the cov­eted ti­tle. All the money goes back to the event to ben­e­fit ACS.

Jun­gle Jim was this year’s DJ and also helped raise money by tak­ing song re­quests – at a dol­lar a song – and kept the tunes spinning day and night.

Nuts For Life was hon­ored as the top over­all fundrais­ing team and was also noted as a ‘Rookie of the Year’ for the com­bined event.

Event lead An­drea Her­nan­dez said that the teams this year raised over $16,500 in their on­site fundrais­ing alone dur­ing the 24 hour pe­riod and the over­all to­tal so far is $74,000 raised.

“Our lit­tle com­mu­ni­ties are in this for the fight,” Her­nan­dez said.

The Pa­tient Courage Award this year was pre­sented to two-time can­cer sur­vivor and Stanis­laus Con­sol­i­dated Bat­tal­ion Chief Kevin Wise, re­ceiv­ing the honor at the Sun­day morn­ing clos­ing cer­e­monies.


Tak­ing time to sign a mes­sage on a flower for the ‘Gar­den of Hope’ on Satur­day morn­ing were Me­gan McNinch and Jose Cortes. The re­cently mar­ried cou­ple was at­tend­ing the Re­lay For Life; McNinch is not only a care­giver for her mom Lee but now a can­cer sur­vivor her­self.


Nuts For Life team co-cap­tains Sandy Bomer, left, and Suzanne Longstreth proudly dis­play their ‘Top Over­all Fundrais­ing’ team tro­phy, awarded dur­ing clos­ing cer­e­monies at the Oak­dale Escalon River­bank Water­ford Re­lay For Life. See ad­di­tional photos, Page A3.


A bal­loon re­lease saw mes­sages writ­ten to loved ones lost to the dis­ease, sent off sky­ward on Satur­day evening, May 5.

Among the mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment on Satur­day was Josh Rosen­blum, who ap­peared many times at the Escalon Re­lay For Life and also ap­peared at the com­bined Oak­dale Escalon River­bank Water­ford edi­tion.

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