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Organizers begin warming up for perennial Relay for Life

Mona Hill
Staff Writer

In 2010, Plumas County’s Relay for Life passed the million dollar mark. Teams raised $80,000 to put the event’s 12-year, cumulative total at $1,027,550.

One of the smallest fundraising relays for the American Cancer Society (ACS), Plumas County has become the highest producing per capita event in the nation and one of the most cost effective, according to Pandora Valle, the 2011 event coordinator.

Valle said teams walk to celebrate cancer survivors or honor those who have succumbed to the disease, to fight back by raising money for cancer research.

Each team receives information about a Plumas County cancer survivor whom it invites to participate in the 24-hour event, whether walking, volunteering or observing. Survivors open the event each year with a victory lap.

Valle said Relay is as much about celebrating recovery and survival and remembering those who lost the fight, as it is about raising money for cancer research. Her adopted motto is “One day, one night, one community, one fight.”

Indeed, Valle, a Portola resident, became involved with Relay simply to be involved in her community and to help prevent any family from having to deal with cancer. Neither she nor anyone in her family has had cancer — something she’d like everyone to experience.

For Valle, it’s a family affair: son Sean and daughter Vanessa are longtime Relay supporters.

Now at Stanford, Sean is the event coordinator for the university’s own Relay.

Vanessa, a Portola High School senior, has taken on youth development for this year’s Relay.

Currently, Valle is working to organize new teams; 13 of the event’s usual 20 teams have already committed to the June 25 – 26 event.

During the 24-hour walkathon, team members take turns completing laps around the Feather River College track, individually and in groups. To keep things interesting for the walkers, there is music and different activities, especially among the younger members of the team.

Each team member commits to raising $100 minimum. Many ask friends and family to support them, others organize different fundraising activities.

Many local businesses and organizations also sponsor teams, and individual sponsorships are available, beginning at $100 for a business card ad in the program.

In addition to raising money, the Relay for Life event raises cancer awareness, offering opportunities at the information tent for residents to learn about ACS services and ways to reduce their risk of cancer.

Patient support services could include reimbursement for transportation to treatment centers, local programs, patient wigs and other services.

There are other opportunities to help with this year’s Relay: manning information tables, setup and participation in the event.

For more information about forming a team, sponsoring a team or an individual, or volunteering at Relay, contact Valle at 832-0347.


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