“We decided Castaic is wonderful place for this. It has the lake, it has great residents, it has great camaraderie and a great community feel,” said Lauren Adams, a senior manager for Relay for Life.
Beginning on May 14 at 9 a.m., Castaic Lake will host its inaugural Relay for Life, the signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society.
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The organization held 386 relays in California last year, and decided to include Castaic in its effort to reach 400.
The event has come a long way since Gordy Klatt of Tacoma, Washington had the unique idea of raising some extra money for the American Cancer Society by walking for 24 straight hours. Last year, the organization raised $3.88 billion across the world with a significant amount of portion raised at Relay for Life events.
Castaic’s relay will take place the weekend before the Relay for Life of Santa Clarita at Central Park.
“We don’t want to pull away from the Santa Clarita event. We want to make sure that we’re both growing and increasing,” said Adams. “At the end of the day, we want to bring the community together to take up this fight and become one – to honor the survivors in the area and celebrate the ones we lost.”
Each Relay for Life is fueled by its volunteers, many of whom were affected by cancer in some way.
In the case of Warren Schultz, cancer took out most of his right leg.
“Basically, my leg exploded one night,” he said.
Schultz battled three surgeries, which kept him in hospitals or at home for nearly six months.
Shcultz said he is indebted to the hard work of the doctors and the American Cancer Society. During the ordeal, nurses from the organization called about once a week.
Now he walks three miles every day and volunteers with Relay for Life.
Those wishing to volunteer for the Castaic relay can get more information at relayforlife.org/castaicca.
“It’s on the lower lake, which has many different walking trails. We have found area – it’s really cool,” said Adams. It’s a walking path and we’ll rope it off or put balloon arcs. We’ll have the tents set up in the middle and we’ll have a barbeque and play area for kids.”
The relay will also feature the intimate and solemn luminaria. Beginning at 9 p.m., participants will walk along a path adorned with candlelit paper bags paying tribute to those who lost their lives to cancer.
“I have some of my best friends that I met at Relay around the track at those weird hours, like from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. because you’re walking the track with someone who has a story and you’re by yourself so you just start talking,” said Adams.
The event ends at 9 a.m. on May 15.
“One thing we all can share is that we all want a cure for this and we’re not going to stop fighting until we find one.”