Tehachapi Relay for Life 2016


Doris Brown leading the Survivor's Lap.

With the help of local businesses and hundreds of donors, Tehachapi Relay for Life 2016 has raised $86,208.56 to fund cancer research. The morning kicked off with breakfast in the Survivor's Village, with food provided by McDonald's, Starbucks, Kohnen's, and Carlos's Donuts. Survivors, caretakers, and everyone with lives touched by cancer saluted the flag, which was hung at half mast in honor of the police officers killed in Dallas.

The opening ceremony featured testimonies from survivors, as well as Mayor Susan Wiggins. Doris Brown, cancer survivor and caregiver to her late husband, Wes Brown, made a speech before the Survivor's Lap. "I'm here today because I'm angry. I'm angry because cancer took the love of my life on January 28, 2016, my sweetheart Wes Brown," she stated, "I'm here to fight the fight with all of you." Doris Brown was this year's torch bearer, and she lead the large group of survivors around the track in a lap both victorious and somber.

The day went on to feature various forms of entertainment, including Hawaiian dancers from Ka Ohana O' Keolanani's Hula Halau, followed by the "hula lap" where everyone walking wore Hawaiian shirts. Throughout the day, events like the cake walk, the Road to Recovery Race, and the Dude Looks Like a Lady and Chick Looks Like a Dude competitions took place. People lined up at the main stage to donate their hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which makes wigs for cancer survivors.

Paws For a Cause, one of Relay's top teams, takes a lap

As night fell, the Lumineria Ceremony began, and hundreds of paper lanterns lined the track, each glowing in memory of those taken by cancer. The night was kept lively by ZUMBA demonstrations, a pajama lap, a limbo lap, and a backwards lap, music playing all the while. The closing ceremony took place the next morning, and after the Fight Back Lap, tired overnighters packed up camp and headed home.

Relay for Life is certainly a day of remembrance, but it is also a day of triumph. Those who have survived cancer and those who have seen it take their loved ones gather to raise money out of hope. The slogan is "Celebrate. Remember. Fight back.", and that's just what those present did. For more information on the American Cancer Society and how you can contribute, visit cancer.org.


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