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Relay For Life Builds Hope, Raises Funds For Cancer

With the sound of shoes and boots tromping through water and mud, nearly one hundred area residents began walking to help raise money for the American Cancer Society this weekend.

A week straight of non-stop rain turned the track at Sonora High School´s Dunlavy Field into a gooey mud bog, but that didn´t deter the many souls who came to spend 24 hours of their time to remember those lives touched by the killing disease.

By noon, the rain finally stopped and the sun broke through just as dozens of cancer survivor´s made the first lap of the event. A sea of purple shirts, worn by a special lot, signifying cancer survivors, began the first quarter-mile trek around the track.

The 24-hour Relay For Life fundraising event for the American Cancer Society kicked off just after 12 noon Saturday. Nearly 50 sponsored relay teams set up tents, awnings or other shelters on the soggy football field grass to use as gathering places or a spot to sit and rest. Themes were again a part of the event for the teams. One group even set up a make-shift bowling alley – complete with real bowling balls and pins – to help past the time from the 24-hour stretch of walking.

On a more serious note, Pat Lipkey, with the team from the Sonora Mervyns, explained why she and two of co-workers were tromping through the muck to fight cancer.

“We think this is an important cause. It really is,” she said while dodging deep mud puddles as she walked. “It´s something that affects everybody´s lives. I think everybody, personally, has had somebody in their family along the line that has had cancer, survived it.”

Sonora resident Mary Coffy held the torch to begin the event. She hasn´t had cancer, but lost a loved one who did.

“My brother just died of terminal cancer,” she said, choking on those words. “And many members of my family have. And I was able to be there for them and care for them.”