Relay For Life of Mountain House 2017

The Bowl @ Central Park provides lovely setting for June 24, 2017 event.

By Bryan Harrison

The move to the Bowl at Central Community Park held great promise for the sixth annual Relay For Life of Mountain House. The extreme-heat weather conditions that lasted more than a week leading up to the event, however, melted some of that hope, so to speak.

As daily temperatures soared well about the triple-digit threshold, cresting the 110 degree mark leading up to the event, organizers opted to abbreviate the time of the program. Rather than a full twelve hour event, originally slated to run 10am-10pm, the group split the event into two sessions: 10am-1pm and 7-10pm.

While the heatwave actually broke the day of the event, only reaching about 95 degrees, morning attendance was lighter than light. Several of the teams involved decided to stick it out throughout the afternoon but, officially, the event was taking a siesta until the evening. The evening portion of the festivities drew a much larger crowd for the three hour segment. Early evening temperatures were truly ideal. The annual Luminaria Walk was the most well-attended portion of the event.

Emotions can run high at Relay For Life events. A benefit for the American Cancer Society's efforts in eradicating cancer from the planet, this Relay was power-packed from the start. A strong rendition of the National Anthem, as sung by Melody Mohammed, was followed by her own quick story of her fight with breast cancer. She expressed gratitude to those who invited her to the event and dedicated the event to all those fighting the affliction. Immediately following that was a very heartfelt opening speech by Risa Moreno, who generated tears for many with the story of her own battle. Live performances of music and dance filled the day and into the night. Food and games were aplenty, including a robust water balloon fight on the basketball court.

Come evening, The Luminaria Ceremony featured Lorrie Rudock as keynote speaker. Her speech included her experiences in helping her dearly beloved grandmother through her end of days this past December. Tears were aplenty all over again. The Luminaria Walk lived up to its usual impactful, introspective, purpose of honoring those who have fought the battle to its end, those fighting valiantly still, and all the survivors who have kicked cancer's ass.

A major theme for the day was setting sites on a day when no one will have to hear the phrase "you have cancer", and the notion of this battle will live only in our history books.

The overall monies raised were reportedly considerably less than in the past few years. Some of that was attributed to the heatwave that kept folks from venturing to the park. Fewer participants and special fund-raising efforts leading up to the main event may be attributable, as well. In the end, the combined monies raised stands currently at $15,686. A goal of $24,000 had been set leading up to it. Additional donations may still be made, through August 31st, by going to the event site:

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