OAKHURST – Relay for Life returned to its roots at Yosemite High School (YHS) the weekend of May 17-18.
The community turned out in droves to support the 24-hour event, raising an unexpected amount of money for such a comparatively small population.
Those who attended walked the track, participated in the Luminaria Ceremony, and purchased this year’s t-shirt which sported psychedelic tie-dye and a message of empowerment.
Registered team members could also compete with one other during fun activities, all in support of cancer patients and raising money and awareness for the cause.
Guest entertainment was provided by groups including YHS Percussion, Advanced Drama, and the Oakhurst Chamber Maids.
Organizers report that this year’s local Relay raised $63,765. That figure is $10,000 more than the goal set by the American Cancer Society.
Foothill residents gave a lot more than money; participant turnout was phenomenal, and spirits were high.
“We had a great event and are so thankful for the attention given to us going into the final stretch,” say committee members. “Many thanks go to the service clubs, the local businesses and all who donated, participated on a team, or sponsored in this very important event.”
Opening Ceremony speaker Jody Jo Mize from KISS Country radio marched the Survivor walk and joined other survivors at breakfast, bringing home the idea that there is power in numbers and reminding the community that, collectively, the job of raising money and awareness is always under way.
Loved ones who have fought, are fighting, or have lost the battle with cancer were remembered by glowing luminarias lining the high school track, and names were read aloud in their honor.
The word “HOPE” was spelled out with luminarias, as a reminder to everyone who attended not to give up.
Many were so overcome with emotion that the night took on the slightly salty taste of tears, along with the sweetness of remembrance. Many open arms and kind faces helped each other to get through the night.
More than 25 teams took part in the 2014 EMC Relay For Life, helping to make this year one of the most memorable for those involved.
Coordinators noted, “It is important to know that the research being funded, free services and programs, and the 24 hour help line are for everyone in Eastern Madera County, just as much as any other community around the world; we have access to it all.”
Relay For Life closed on Sunday with the following words: “We are Oakhurst, We are Relayers, and WE WILL FINISH THIS FIGHT!”