Teens needed to form relay teams

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By Elizabeth Hjelvik

In 2010, cancer was the second leading cause of death in the United States, taking more than 500,000 lives.

Though so many are affected by the disease, not all can afford to be treated.

Treatment for cancer is very expensive, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in many cases.

For almost 100 years, The American Cancer Society has raised funds through various events for cancer treatment.

According to cancer.org, the ACS “has worked relentlessly to save lives and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.” One of the biggest fundraisers for ACS is the Relay for Life.

Relay is a 24-hour organized community event that usually takes place at a track. During Relay, participants form teams and walk around the track continuously.

The walk symbolizes that cancer never stops. For some, the event is emotional. A Relay representative said that it is a “very powerful and passionate event,” as evidenced by the number of participants.
Los Alamos has its own Relay for Life event, which has been organized by Hope Jaramillo, a Relay participant for 10 years.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. Aug. 23 and ends at 10 a.m. Aug. 24 at Ashley Pond. Relay is open to the public and currently, Jaramillo is looking for people to form teams, particularly youth teams.

The event is being held in conjunction with the Gordon’s concert Aug. 23.

Jaramillo’s goal is to “have many youth teams that spend the night, not only to increase the fundraising, but also the energy and ideas that they have.”

She also hopes to have half of the pond area reserved for the youth so that there are multiple activities going on through the night for the kids attending.

During the event, there are two parts that honor past or current patients of cancer.

One is the survivor lap in which all the cancer survivors attending the event make one lap around the track with the people who supported them through their fight with cancer.

The second part is the luminaria ceremony, which is for people who have lost their lives to cancer or are currently fighting cancer.

Bags filled with sand and a candle may be purchased for $10 and the names of loved ones are written on the bags.
The luminarias are then lined up around Ashley Pond and more are placed on the grass to spell out the word hope.

Relay also raises money via the Internet. On relayforlife.org, people can sign up under the local event and create their own page, on which they can include their personal story and explain why they are part of Relay.

They then can send out the page to others or post it on the Relay dashboard, and whoever wants to donate just goes to the page and then clicks the link that says, donate.

In the past, Jaramillo has walked for all the people with cancer, but now she walks for herself and brother, both of whom are currently fighting cancer. In Los Alamos, there are many different organizations that participate, ranging from sponsors to vendors.

Participants are encouraged to form a team for the event with their friends and families.

Teams camp out and it is recommended that they bring some of their own entertainment, such as a board game.

The teams will be able to get food from the vendors at the Gordon’s concert and in the morning, there are usually burritos or pancakes for the walkers.

Those interested in forming a team for Relay should contact Hope Jaramillo at hjjaramillo@msn.com or 699-0528.
For more information on the Relay for Life, go to relayforlife.org.