By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Relay for Life graced with sunshine

Walkers near goal of $40K for cancer


Photo courtesy of Tony Gorman

Relay for Life held its 24 hour walkathon fundraiser last week. These walkers joined the effort in memory of loved ones.

Relay for Life – the 24-hour fundraising walkathon held to raise cash to aid cancer patients and fund research for a cure – held its main Valdez event Friday evening through Saturday. Dozens of dedicated walkers rounded the track behind Gilson Middle School for 24 hours as other volunteers provided shelter, food and other fundraising events around the event.

“We had 12 teams,” Wendy Goldstein, chairman for Valdez Relay, said in an interview Monday afternoon. “Right now, we’re almost at $37,000.”

The fundraising goal for 2012 is $40,000 and the Valdez chapter has until August to meet that benchmark.

While last week’s event attracted much fanfare – it included a dog walk, an hour of drag and other special laps around the track, most teams and volunteers have began fundraising efforts many months ago, with special bake sales, yard sales and other fundraisers occurring around Valdez.

As in years’ past, 2012 included the lighting of luminarias around the track to honor survivors, those fighting the disease, and sadly, some that lost the battle. The event even included a side-drive for the food bank. A luminaria is essentially a paper bag with the name of someone affected by cancer written on the side. The bag is then weighted down with sand and a lit candle is placed inside the bag, producing a warm glow. This year, instead of sand, those placing a luminaria around the track were asked to weigh down the back with canned goods to donate to the Valdez Food Bank.

The luminaria were lit at midnight while Valdez singer Chloe Milton sang “Amazing Grace.”

“That was really moving,” Goldstein said. “It was just really touching.”

Even the weather cooperated with the event.

Blue skies and warm temperatures graced the stalwart walkers and volunteers all through the grueling 24 hours. While this year’s event is winding down, many – including Goldstein, are already busy planning for next year’s event.

“It was a meaningful way to fight back against something that makes you feel so hopeless,” she said


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