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Committee Members Fine Tuning June Relay
Beware the Purple Potty.

It could be showing up in your yard.

But for a price, you can have it removed. And for a little bit more, you can have it delivered to someone else, as well as keeping it from coming back around.

It's all part of the fundraising for Escalon's first Relay For Life, coming up at Escalon High School on June 4 and 5. Plans are progressing well for the event, which brings together teams for a 24-hour period to raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer.

Serving as chairperson for Escalon's inaugural event is Jeff Fernandes, a veteran of many Relays throughout the area. It was his enthusiasm that helped secure the event for Escalon, which now joins communities including Oakdale, Riverbank and Manteca with Relays staged in the spring and summer.

Oakdale has a relay in April and last year, Fernandes was on a team there. This year, he is heading up the Escalon event and committee members and team captains gathered for a regular meeting this past Wednesday at the local ambulance station.

Among those on hand was co-chair Josh Huebner, who made it to the meeting despite going through his third day of chemotherapy -he was diagnosed with cancer in mid-December.

"Our first meeting, I told everyone 'you're not guaranteed' not to get cancer," Fernandes said, noting that the last thing he thought would happen was having one of his fellow committee members diagnosed with the disease shortly thereafter.

But for the committee members, it has served as a stark reminder that cancer remains the enemy.

The 24 hours of Relay include having someone from each team on the track at all times, along with a variety of entertainment, informational displays and activities, lots of fundraising, a special area for recognizing survivors and a luminaria ceremony to honor those lost and celebrate those who have beaten the disease or continue the fight.

Staff partner from the American Cancer Society with the Escalon Relay is Sheila Doberenz, who was on hand for Wednesday night's session.

"We want to highlight the survivor area and the 'fight back' area," she said of focusing Escalon's efforts this year.

'Fight Back' is the educational arm of Relay For Life, helping people learn how to protect themselves against the disease and learning how to help those who have been diagnosed.

Huebner, who like Fernandes is an Escalon High School alum, said he wants to get the schools involved in the Relay and also will be making contact with some of the local sports teams to see if they can work cooperatively on some fundraising and educational activities.

Each team typically has an on-site fundraiser the day of the event, but money is also raised ahead of time and Fernandes said that's where the 'Pass the Potty' comes in.

If the purple painted potty shows up in your yard, it will cost $20 to have it removed. For a $30 donation to the American Cancer Society, the potty leaves your yard and gets delivered to the yard of someone you choose. A $40 donation gets the potty out of your yard, into someone else's, and gives you insurance, banning the potty from coming back to you.

For more information - or to order the potty delivered - contact Fernandes at 595-4192.

Anyone interested in getting involved in Relay For Life in Escalon can also get information about the upcoming event from Fernandes and attend the regular monthly meetings. The next session will be Wednesday, Feb. 23 at the ambulance station, 1480 Ullrey, at 7:30 p.m.