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Foothills go purple to fight cancer

Clad in purple T-shirts signifying hope among caregivers and cancer victims, locals take to a field for a 24-hour walk.

May 22, 2008|By Ruth Longoria

They came from across the Southland, celebrities and community members — laden with sleeping bags, tents, walking shoes, shorts and T-shirts, hats, sunglasses and plenty of water. Some were survivors and some honored family or friends who have succumbed to the terrible disease. Others came just to support a cause that has touched so many lives.

The eighth annual Foothills Relay for Life last weekend at La Crescenta’s Clark Magnet High School drew about 600 hundred walkers and generated more than $116,000 in funds to help local cancer victims and survivors. The funds are used at four area cancer research facilities at UCLA; USC, Childrens Hospital and the City of Hope; as well as for local outreach programs, including a transportation program for cancer victims and a 24-hour phone cancer support line.

A united sea of walkers in purple T-shirts circled the field as the event was launched Saturday morning with the traditional Survivors’ Lap. The color purple — which could be seen around the track in ribbons and balloons, as well as on the clothing of cancer survivors — is the official color of Relay for Life, and signifies the hope shared among caregivers, victims and all concerned with cancer, said Loretta Savery of La Cañada, Foothills Relay for Life event chairwoman.

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“Hope in the face of misery is a miracle of the human spirit,” she said. Savery was inspired to become part of Relay for Life when her son became involved in order to accrue community service hours for school. Now, she continues her involvement in the event because she “can’t imagine not remaining a part of Relay,” she said. “These people are like family.”

Throughout the event, individual walkers from teams took turns walking the designated track with at least one member of each team on the track throughout the 24-hour-long event. The largest group of participants in the event — which also generated the largest dollar amount — was St. Francis High School’s BOCA Knights, with more than 125 youths involved on that team. The students raise money for the event throughout the year through candy sales and other fund-raisers.

Also recognized for its significant contribution to the cause was the Clean Sweep team from J’s Maintenance, in La Crescenta, which raised about $21,000.

Crescenta Valley High School had two teams of youths in the event, the Kids Fighting Cancer and the Teens Fighting Cancer teams.

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