Actively participating in the Relay For Life of Escalon for the last several years, the Nuts For Life Team this year includes co-captains Suzanne Longstreth and Sandy Bomer. Longstreth has led the team in the past; this year, Bomer has taken on the added role of serving as a co-captain.
“Our team members are actually just family and friends, we started out with a bunch of (our kids’) friends from the school, a bunch of us band moms, it kind of evolved from there,” Bomer explained.
The name, she added, is a play on the ‘Relay For Life’ and since founding team member Suzanne and husband Rob Longstreth are in the nut industry, it just seemed to fit.
“My husband and I, we have almonds ourselves,” Bomer added of herself and husband Robert.
Plus, she said, the team and Relay can get a little crazy at crunch time.
“You can look at that in a few different ways,” Bomer admitted of the team name, chuckling.
Escalon’s Relay For Life is set for Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26 on the football field and track at Escalon High School.
The Nuts For Life team is a regular at the Escalon Relay and their on-site fundraising includes the sale of almonds, walnuts and honey and Bomer said they will bring back another favorite as well.
“We are going to have strawberry shortcake like we did last year, it was very successful,” she said. “We are also going to do musical chairs as an activity at Relay, just for fun.”
As far as the team’s ‘Fight Back’ message, where they provide information about a type of cancer, treatment and preventive measures, they will feature breast cancer.
“Suzanne’s sister is a breast cancer survivor and she is on our team, so we are sticking with that,” Bomer explained.
This year, in honor of the Olympics, teams got to choose a country to use for their booth theme and colors; Nuts For Life will be representing the U.S.A.
“We are excited about that,” said Bomer.
And like many participants, she has personal reasons for taking up the fight against the disease through the American Cancer Society’s signature event.
“I lost both of my parents to cancer, my mom in 2006 and my dad in 2012,” Bomer said. “That’s why I personally relay; it started out with my mom and it touched my dad that I was doing it for my mom.”
Now, she said, she relays in memory of them both and said she would love to see not only more teams and more participants for the Relay in Escalon but also more people from the community to just come out and support the event. Between activities, entertainment, the educational displays, food and fun, Bomer said it is well worth the time spent to come see what Relay is all about.
Escalon is currently at 13 teams, 125 participants and over $9,900 in fundraising.
“I do it because if there is one dollar that we raise that helps to make cancer treatments easier, to help patients and survivors and caregivers with whatever they need … and to ultimately find a cure for cancers,” said Bomer of wanting to make a difference.
She said Relayers – all too many impacted by the disease – just “want it to go away” and they are doing what they can to help make that a reality.
Known for being among the top individual fundraisers at Escalon’s event, Bomer said her approach is simple.
“I just ask, I send out emails,” she said of seeking donations. “I ask businesses, Rob and I have a business, I use that network, ask them if they would be interested in sponsoring us. You would be surprised, how much people are pleased that you are asking.”
As a team member and now this year a co-captain, Bomer said she typically fills in walking for the team whenever there is a need.
“I’m usually there for the whole 24 hours, I don’t go home,” she said. “If that means walking at 2 o’clock in the morning, I walk.”
Next week, another team takes a turn in the spotlight as we lead up to the 2016 event.