Amazingly, it’s that time of year again: Relay for Life is here.
The countdown on our front window has dwindled daily, to single digits now, as we are just a couple of days away from Oakdale’s Ninth Annual Relay for Life event.
From that first year, when reporter Teresa Hammond attended merely to cover the event until now, our involvement as a community — and as a newspaper supporting the cause — has grown immensely. Oakdale has gained a reputation as somewhat of a ‘shining star’ in the Relay world, enough so that now it has been honored in a very significant way.
This year, Oakdale will host Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) at its Relay event, Saturday, April 24. Hours for the CPS-3 portion are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the goal is to get a cross section of people, between 30 and 65 years old, who have never been diagnosed with cancer (not including basal or squamos cell skin cancer) and are willing to make the commitment for the long haul, taking part in the initial screening on Relay day and then completing the follow up surveys over the course of several years.
CPS-3 coordinator for Oakdale is Jill Clayton, who said the time participants will have to devote to filling out forms for CPS-3 over the life of the study will probably take less time than the actual 24-hour event that is about to unfold.
Without a lot of time, you can do a whole lot of good. The goal of information gathering through CPS-3 is to help determine how to prevent cancer and how lifestyles, family history and the environment can play a role in causing or preventing cancer.
The on-site screening will be followed up with a longer survey sent to your home and then every few years, another survey will arrive. Those participating will also receive annual newsletters detailing the research.
There aren’t a lot of communities that are getting to host CPS-3 studies in California. Slightly more than a handful. The fact that Oakdale is among them, out of well over 350 relays across the state, is a reason to celebrate. The community of Oakdale, and those surrounding it, always come out to support Relay and that level of participation and a proven track record over the years has allowed us to host the prestigious study.
This year’s theme for Relay is celebrating more birthdays, and with the work being done in terms of cancer research and prevention, the American Cancer Society is helping us to do just that.
Relay for Life itself is a celebration of our survivors and we encourage you to come and join in that celebration with us. We also will be remembering those we have lost to the fight and your participation in Relay, at any level and through any donation, will help us fight back against the disease that has taken too much from us already. You don’t have to be on a team, you don’t have to spend time walking the track to come and be a part of it all. There are activities throughout the day to enjoy, musical entertainment, the moving evening luminaria ceremony, booths with a wide variety of goods for sale and plenty more selling different types of food. It’s a good time, all 24 hours of it.
Another joy of Relay is the fact that it is such a well-known event that it’s not unusual to connect with those that have taken part in other places.
Case in point: Wearing last year’s committee shirt, a nice bright blue that has ‘Event Crew’ clearly labeled on the back, I was standing in line Saturday afternoon at an area ice cream shop, and was asked by someone behind me what ‘event’ that was. Turning around to show the front of the shirt, the man broke into a wide grin, as he told me that has been involved with the Relay for Life in Sonora. As we sat, eating our ice cream and covering our common ground, I invited he and his wife to the Oakdale event this weekend and detailed the success of Saturday’s Bark for Life, which allowed pet owners to bring their dogs and raise money for the fight against cancer, at an event designed especially for our four-legged supporters.
Four feet, two feet, walking, running, jogging, skipping — it doesn’t matter; we all in our own way can join the fight. Oakdale, Knights Ferry, Valley Home, Riverbank, Escalon, all will be sending participants to this weekend’s Relay for Life. Hope you can join us.