Preparations for the Oakdale Relay For Life 2012 are under way, and this year children of all ages are taking the initiative to raise funds. From selling homemade crafts to collecting spare change, Oakdale kids are finding plenty of ways to help out.
Micaela Arellano started attending Relay For Life with her mother a few years ago. The 11-year-old decided this year that she wanted to raise money and be an official member of the team. Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraiser, where participating teams walk for 24 hours to raise money. Arellano and her mom, Jenice Paniagua, are on team Komonawanacure. The team is made up mostly of co-workers of Paniagua at Dr. Mahida and Dr. Basi’s office in Oakdale. Arellano said she really enjoys Relay For Life and she decided to raise funds for her team by selling a homemade craft. She settled on flower pens made out of duct tape.
“A few of my friends knew how to make them and they showed me. I’m selling them for $1 to raise money,” the young entrepreneur said.
The fundraiser has been very successful for Arellano. She sells the decorated pens at the reception desk of Dr. Mahida’s office in the Oak Valley Hospital medical building. She has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 270 pens so far, and she still has four months until Relay For Life. She said that each pen takes less than 10 minutes to make, but that sometimes people place bulk orders for up to 20 at a time.
“You can imagine what our weekends are like,” joked Paniagua, “but it’s a good bonding experience. We sit, make pens, and talk.”
Komonawanacure team captain Kathy Shepherd is also the team recruitment chair of Relay For Life this year. She said that Relay really is a family event and that children of all ages are welcome and encouraged to participate.
“It’s really great to see our youth at Relay, they get very involved. Micaela came up with her fundraiser all on her own,” Shepherd said.
Other young members of Team Komonawanacure are also getting in on the fundraising. Nathan Hasley, 4, and Allison Hasley, 2, are collecting dimes for Relay For Life. They carry around water bottles and collect spare change. They also sell cake pops, and few people are able to tell them “no.”
“They have sold over 200 cake pops, I think,” Shepherd said.
Fundraising and planning for Relay For Life starts early, months in advance of the actual event. The 24-hour Relay will take to the soccer fields at Oakdale High School in late April, but the event kicked off in November. Shepherd said that new teams and returning teams who have not done Relay For Life recently should come to a team captains’ meeting to see what the event is all about. The next meeting will be Thursday, Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Bianchi Community Center in Oakdale.
“American Cancer Society is different from other organizations because it gives the majority of the money back to the people. Working in a medical office we have seen first hand what they do,” Shepherd said.
Relay For Life Oakdale team captain meetings take place monthly and are announced on the event’s webpage, Relayforlife.org.
Shepherd is also available at 988-9298 to assist teams in getting involved.