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Calling All Survivors: Celebrate With Us
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It's a birthday celebration - and some very special people are invited.

Escalon will play host to its first Relay For Life this year, to benefit the American Cancer Society, and a celebration is scheduled for Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m. at Saron Lutheran Church to honor survivors.

"It really is kind of a warm up," said Chryse Seeman, serving as the Survivor Committee chairperson for the Escalon Relay For Life.

A cancer survivor herself, Seeman said the goal is to bring survivors together to celebrate, focusing on the theme for Relay this year, 'Celebrating More Birthdays.'

The Relay For Life in Escalon will be staged in early June on the campus of Escalon High and a variety of activities are scheduled leading up to the 24-hour event.

Among them, purple potties are making their way around town, being placed on lawns - for a fee - and removed, also by paying a fee.

Relay chair Jeff Fernandes said he made a couple of deliveries of the purple potties last week, only to be called almost immediately to remove the toilets from in front of the houses where they had been deposited.

It's all in good fun, Fernandes said, and the money raised goes to a good cause, helping fund research and patient services.

Seeman and survivor committee co-chair Delores Grabow are working to bring the party together.

"Survivors are the reason that we all relay, we like to see all the success stories," Seeman said. "I am celebrating my sixth birthday of surviving breast cancer."

Grabow lost her husband, Herman, to cancer and has been actively involved in several relays around the region over the years, from Oakdale to Stockton and now in her own backyard.

"I have two sisters that are survivors," Grabow said of how her family has been impacted by cancer and the work done by the American Cancer Society.

Her mother also battled the disease.

Grabow said she is happy Relay is coming to Escalon and said it is frustrating when people don't know what the ACS event is, as it has been going on for years.

Education is key, and bringing survivors to the party and getting them to Relay will only help spread the word that cancer can be beat, Grabow and Seeman said.

"My personal list is huge," Seeman added of family members affected by the disease.

All are welcome to attend the Survivor Celebration, survivors, caregivers, friends and family, with cake, ice cream, coffee and punch being served up. RSVPs are helpful, Seeman said, and can be made by calling her at 838-2466. Saron Lutheran Church, at 1742 North St., will host the March 31 party.

"We just want to get the survivors on board," she said.