They run for lost mothers and daughters, fathers and sons. They run for family and friends gone too soon. They run, or jog or walk, together, with pride and strength. Others move along alone, silent with memory.
Some by day, some by night, all with a shared goal: celebrate, remember, fight back.
Such is the inspiring scene of Relay For Life. The annual event celebrates the survivors who have battled cancer, remembers those lost to cancer and helps communities fight back against a disease that has already taken far too much.
Sonoma’s Relay For Life begins at 10 a.m. and will run a full 24-hours, wrapping up at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1, at the Sonoma Valley High School Track.
The day begins with a celebration of those that have beat cancer, who take to the track during the Survivors Lap directly after the Opening Ceremony.
Emblematic of the message of celebration is a day of fun, spirited activities. Relay-Palooza provides a full music festival, bringing out all the local talent. SonomaSong will perform at 11 a.m., followed by EZ Kewl at noon and Sue Albano and Mark Dennis at 1 p.m. Albano returns to join James Marshall Berry on stage at 3 p.m. with the Big Easy performing at 3:30 p.m.
The show continues with Jon Popenoe and friends at 4 p.m., the Dollhouse at 5 p.m., Talk of the Town at 5:30 p.m. and Adam Traum at 6:30 p.m. Kit Kat Karaoke wraps up the night at 7 p.m., inviting everyone to join in the fun. The Academy-Award winning film “Up” will be screened around 10 p.m.
There will also be a silent auction, bounce house, volleyball games, dunk tank, kids corner, hooping demonstrations and many other activities. Local businesses such as Sonoma Market, Mary’s Pizza Shack and Café Andiamo will keep walkers’ energy up by providing food and drinks during the entire event.
Valley stylists will offer their services collecting hair for Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which makes wigs for cancer patients. Hair donations must be at least 8-inches and the hair cannot be color-treated. Any stylists who would be available to cut hair on Saturday are asked to contact Amanda at Grazia Bianchi Salon, 996-6002.
As the night grows dark, the track will be gently lit by the soft glow of hundreds of luminaria bags, placed by loved ones in honor of those who have survived cancer and in memory of those who died from the disease. Luminaria bags are available at MacArthur Place and The Sonoma Index-Tribune’s office, with a suggested donation of $10, but no one will be turned away.
Relay For Life is the flagship fundraiser of the American Cancer Society, raising millions of dollars in thousands of communities across the country to help fund cancer research and support those living with the disease via various service programs. During the 24-hour marathon, teams form who commit to raising funds and having a walker on the track the whole time, because cancer never sleeps — and neither do participating teams.
While it is recommended, attendees do not have to be on a team or raise funds to come down and enjoy the entertainment of Relay For Life.
Learn how you can help fight cancer by visiting RelayForLife.org/SonomaCa or visit us on Facebook at Facebook.com/SonomaRelayForLife. To donate, provide silent auction items or have specific questions answered, e-mail SonomaRelay2010@gmail.com.