Relay For Life fundraiser strides into town

Stepping toward a cure
By: Elizabeth Speth, Loomis News Correspondent
-A +A
The fight against cancer – and a wish to honor its survivors – will unite Loomis residents this weekend. The American Cancer Society Relay for Life will be held in Loomis for the first time this coming Saturday, May 14 at the Del Oro High School track. Kicked off at 10 a.m. by a ceremony to honor survivors, the event concludes with a promise to “fight back against a disease that takes too much,” according to the Relay for Life website. Loomis Relay co-chair Candace Vaughan said local cancer survivors are invited to join in the survivor lap. She said during the 24-hour, continuous relay, at least 19 teams of volunteers will circle the Del Oro High School track to raise thousands of dollars for cancer research and support programs. Vaughan said one of the most touching parts of relay is the luminaria ceremony slated for 9 p.m. on Saturday night. Hundreds of luminarias will line the track and light the way for relay team members. Each luminaria honors a person who has fought cancer or remembers someone who lost their battle with cancer. Jeanne Duvall is a Loomis Union School District trustee and relay team member who has drummed up more than $1,000 in donations. Duvall said five people close to her have battled the disease, starting with a high school friend who succumbed to bone cancer. “I’ve known too many people with cancer, including three women on my relay team,” Duvall said. Duvall said she will walk “for all of them. Because cancer can make you feel helpless, and it’s good to be able to do something.” During relay, at least one member of each team must be on the track at all times. The public is invited to offer encouragement, and to enjoy the event’s booths, food, activities and fundraisers. “Each team has a theme,” said Tiffany Mosburg, coordinator of the relay’s first leg, the “Survivors’ Lap.” After organizing a breakfast for those with the hard-earned right to walk that first lap, she will lead her own relay team called Drum Out Cancer. Mosburg said her team will offer drum-making lessons and demonstrations at their team tent, with all proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society. “My mother went through cancer when I was a teenager,” Mosburg said. “It was a very selfish time for me, and I always felt guilty about that. I should have done more for her. So I’m making up for that.” According to the Relay website, at least 22 percent of all funds raised go to patient support programs. Sheree Palma, a Loomis Union School District nurse, cancer survivor and relay team member, called the support programs a lifesaver. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, Palma said, “I put on my pink warrior suit.” She said she then hunkered down for six months of chemotherapy and 30 days of radiation therapy. She said she was grateful for personal grooming classes offered by the American Cancer Society “for women who need to feel beautiful without hair or eyelashes.” Palma said friends helped her through treatment – accompanying her to medical appointments and keeping her spirits up. “That made me stronger,” she said. “I had to be a positive person, for all the people who were there for me. I wanted to be an inspiration for them.” Palma said she tried to make the best of the situation during her treatment. “I never had a bad hair day, once I had to wear a wig,” she said. For more information, to make a donation or dedicate a luminaria, go to