Spirit, honor and strength at 2011 Relay for Life

Posted on August 3, 2011 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Haylie Padgett helped arrange balloons and flags along the track at last year’s event.

They walk in memory of lost mothers and daughters, fathers and sons. They walk to honor those who have survived.

Some walk together, with pride and strength. Others move along alone, in silence.

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 and helps communities fight back against a disease that has already taken far too much.

Sonoma’s Relay For Life begins Saturday, August 6 at 10 a.m. and will run a full 24-hours 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. The love music stage opens with Carisma Crew, the high school dance team, at 10:30 a.m. Performances follow by the bands EZ Kewl at 11 a.m., the Maldonado Brothers at noon at the Cork Pullers at 1 p.m. The Joe Chaplain Band plays at 2 p.m. followed by Elvis and the Flashbacks at 3 p.m., Glenn Carter at 4 p.m. and Danny Wirick at 4:30 p.m.
The music continiues with the Jon Popenoe Band at 5 p.m., Noche Tropical at 6 p.m. and Kit Cat Karaoke at 7 p.m.

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.

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. Teams form and commit to raising funds and having a walker on the track the whole time, because cancer never sleeps.

As of August 2, the pledges donations tallied nearly $50,000. The top teams were Team Michael Miller, Willie’s Warrior and Sonoma Valley Hospital Vital Signs.

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