Walking around the clock


The American Cancer Society presents Santa Monica’s third annual cancer research fundraiser.

By Steven Genson/Special to the Malibu Times

Malibu’s school district partner and neighbor to the south will be holding its third annual Relay For Life on July 24 and 25 at Santa Monica College’s Corsair Field. Presented by the American Cancer Society in conjunction with the Santa Monica Police Department, this 24-hour event raises money for cancer research while commemorating survivors and victims of the disease.

The relay consists of sponsored teams whose members will circle the track for 24 consecutive hours. These 10- to 20-member teams are generally made up of family members, friends and work colleagues. The one stipulation is that one team member move around the course at all times.

Lt. Frank Fabrega of the SMPD mentioned that there were already 26 teams registered for the relay, seven from the police department. Speaking of the SMPD’s involvement Fabrega said he believes “it [the Relay] is another way to become closer to the community.” He added that Chief James T. Butts Jr., member on the ACS executive board, worked very hard to bring the relay to Santa Monica.

The origin of the relay traces back to 1985 in Tacoma, Wash. where a surgeon named Dr. Gordon Klatt ran and walked by himself around the University of Puget Sound’s track. He raised $27,000, and since then the relay has spread to more than 3,000 communities nationwide.

In its first year the Santa Monica Relay raised $68,000 for the ACS and topped $79,000 the second year. This year Fabrega hopes the relay will bring in around $105,000 for the ACS’ programs and services. The SMPD itself, as a Presenting Sponsor, is donating $10,000.

From bake and yard sales to asking co-workers for a nickel a lap to family donations, teams fundraise through a variety of means. The ACS also encourages corporate sponsorship, which does not have to be monetary. In some instances, businesses donate food and drinks, or tents for shade in support of the relay.

Among the relay’s corporate sponsors is Marty Cooper, proprietor of the Malibu Beach Inn. In his second year as a sponsor, he hopes to see more support from the Malibu community. “My goal,” Cooper explained, “is to find a few more Malibu businesses to step up to the plate and be involved.”

The relay commences with its inaugural lap being walked by cancer survivors. Teams then can join the relay, and festivities begin. Activities such as medical guest speakers, local bands, and yoga among other events will be scheduled throughout the day. Refreshments and snacks are provided as well.

At nightfall, the Luminaria ceremony takes place, where candles in sandbags will line the track as a tribute to cancer survivors and those who lost their lives. During the twilight hours, food and coffee will be available, and Santa Monica College will be showing movies. The closing ceremonies will take place at 9 a.m. and includes a breakfast supplied by Santa Monica’s local Boy Scout Troop No. 2.

More information on registering a team or becoming a sponsor can be obtained by contacting the ACS at 310.348.0356, extension 246.