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Survivor Day Celebration Hoped For In Early June

With the American Cancer Society cancelling all events at least through mid-May, the Oakdale-Escalon-Riverbank-Waterford Relay For Life has been put on hold.

Originally scheduled as a 24-hour event, set for May 2 and 3 on the campus of Oakdale High School, officials are hoping to have a modified, likely shorter Relay event later in the year.

Also, said ACS Community Development Manager Benazir Ali, they want to have some sort of acknowledgement for the upcoming June 2 “National Survivor Day” to honor cancer survivors.

“We are looking to do something to celebrate that, perhaps with the purchase of luminaria bags,” Ali explained during a virtual ‘Relay Town Hall’ meeting on Facebook Live, hosted on April 1.

The decorated bags could be lit up and placed in a window, outside in a garden, perhaps displayed on a table and shared virtually, she said, as a way to connect the Relay community with cancer survivors.

“Cancer is still being diagnosed, cancer patients still need treatment,” Ali added.

There has been no new date set for the Relay For Life locally, though Ali said future Town Hall sessions will hopefully develop a plan for having one, whether it is in late summer or perhaps the fall.

“We still want to engage our high schools,” she said, noting that the 2020 Relay For Life did have participants from Oakdale, Escalon and Riverbank high schools and they want to keep those students on board.

Key sponsors had also already committed with ConAgra a $10,000 sponsor this year, in addition to A.L. Gilbert, $2,500; Grower’s Choice $1,000; Ferrarese’s Deli, $1,000; Keckler Medical, $500; and Oakdale New Car Dealers/Haidlen Ford and Steve’s Chevrolet $250.

Whatever form the 2020 Relay eventually takes, Ali said she is confident in the community’s ability to come through with a show of support for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers, with teams featuring a cross section of community members, representing families, businesses, churches, school clubs, service organizations and more.

“We are keeping up to date with the State of California mandates as well as federal,” Ali explained of working within those parameters to try and reschedule the local event. “It is in the forefront of our minds.”