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Residents Rally At Relay
More than 60 teams, accounting for some 1,100 participants, hit the track for 24 hours this weekend, with many Escalon and Farmington residents among those taking part in the 2008 Oakdale Relay for Life.

From the MOMS Club of Escalon to the MedAmerica team headed up by captain Tamera Franklin of Escalon, local residents joined in the battle against cancer in the American Cancer Society's signature event.

"Our event makes progress happen," Chairperson Jeff Hood told the crowd assembled for the Saturday morning opening ceremonies. "We can't stop now."

Several Farmington residents were joined in a 'Trees Telling Cancer to Leave' team and Amie Conde of Cromwell and Ney, in cooperation with Nabby Casteel and the girl scouts of Escalon Troop 1767, operated a booth and walked the track as part of Team Earline, dedicated to Conde's grandmother, the late Earline Patterson, who battled the disease.

This year marked the seventh annual Relay for Life in Oakdale, put on at Oakdale High School. While many locals take part in the Oakdale event, several teams of Escalon High School students and adult chaperones will be in Manteca for the May 2 and 3 weekend Relay in that community.

Jose Rodriguez of Farmington, with the 'Trees' team at Oakdale, was one of a trio of participants that took the stage in the morning to donate their hair to Wigs for Kids. He was there with wife A.J. Rodriguez, and he was celebrating his successful college graduation from MJC on Friday by getting his hair - 18 inches of it - cut off to donate for wigs for children suffering the side effects of cancer treatment.

A.J. Rodriguez served on a committee for the 2007 relay and said she has been involved because of family members that have dealt with the disease, including her godmother.

"If she had known about Relay, she would have done this one," A.J. said.

She has taken part for the past few years and said husband Jose had been growing his hair for three years before deciding to donate it.

"I just wanted to help out," Jose said of parting with his hair. "I want to have it short for a while."

At the MOMS Club booth, Denise Dessert of Escalon and Hilarie Harned of Oakdale were working the lunch counter, with the club taking pre-orders for box lunches and also making some up on the fly.

"We pre-sold 23 and we made 17 extra to have to sell," Dessert said.

"I guess we should have made a few more," Harned added, noting that the lunches went fast.