The American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life fundraiser has been around for many years, and in the thousands of communities it’s held in, it brings out people who participate for a wide variety of reasons.
But they all have the same goal: Doing their small part to help create a world where cancer no longer exists, no longer takes away loved ones, no longer destroys the health of those it infects.
Last Saturday, the Gridley-Biggs Relay for Life was held at Biggs High School.
The 13-hour event started bright and early at 9 a.m. and ended just before 10 p.m., after the always-emotional luminaria ceremony, which honors those who have lost their battle with the disease, as well as those who have battled and beaten it and those fighting it currently.
Event lead Tiffany Wilson has been involved in the event for several years. Cancer has touched her life, with both family members and friends affected by the disease.
“Over the years, I have had too many friends who have heard, ‘You have cancer,” Wilson said. “What we do here today helps fund research and cures, so hearing those three words is not a death sentence.”
A number of teams participated in this year’s event. They included:
* Amazing Grace, captained by Shana Roles;
* Crusaders for Cancer, co-captained by Krissie Vieira and Becca Cowan;
* Fight The Fight,” co-captained by Michelle Testroete and Amanda Gray;
* Gridley High School, captained by Karli Mell;
* Just Cure It, co-captained by Marjes Bryan and Linnea Johnson;
* Legacy, co-captained by Carlos Estrada and Shawnee Walters;
* Orchard Hospital, captained by Lyndi Little;
* Team Continental, co-captained by Lori Wiliams and Carolyn Erickson.
* Team Hazel, captained by Sara Brewer and Andrea Butler;
* Team Turnbull, co-captained by Teresa Sanner and Justene Thomas;
* Team 2, captained by Linda Busch.
Involvement in the Relay is often intensely personal, and it was that way for Krispie Vieira, who lost a husband to the disease in 2003.
The loss of her husband spurred Vieira to get into the medical field, in addition to igniting her activism with the Relay for Life.
On Saturday, Vieira and her husband, Sylvan, were operating their booth as part of the Crusaders for Cancer team.
Their booth featured a “bra pong” game that seemed to be attracting a lot of attention.
“We’re out here doing our part to fight cancer,” Vieira said. “This brings the community together.”
As of Tuesday afternoon at press time, according to Wilson, the total raised this year was over $14,000. That included more than $5,000 raised the day of the event.
Gridley’s own Gracie Gonzalez, 11, who is battling leukemia, was able to attend the event this year, and her team, “Amazing Grace,” won the event’s Spirit Stick award.