Jeannie Edwards is fighting cancer.
The Barstow resident, however, didn’t feel alone in her fight to live as she walked around the track that circles the football field at Barstow High School on Saturday morning.Hundreds of people showed up for the 18th annual Relay for Life event in Barstow.
A Relay for Life event also was held at the Civic Center Park Amphitheatre in Apple Valley.
The Barstow event started at 9 a.m. Saturday with 32 teams registered and was scheduled to last 24 hours. According to one of the Barstow organizers, Isaac Padilla, the American Cancer Society gives cities participating in the event the choice to run 6-, 12-, or 24-hour events. Padilla said in the 18 years of the event, the Barstow Relay for Life has opted for the 24-hour event because “cancer never sleeps and neither should we.”
Padilla said the goal is to make sure at least one person of every team is walking around the track for the duration.
“You don’t feel alone. You see so many others and it gives you strength to keep fighting,” Edwards said, while walking with other cancer survivors. She said she is diagnosed with breast cancer and it’s not responsive to chemotherapy and radiation.
“God is the only one that can bring us through this. We don’t have anything else,” she said. “I have faith. I’m still here and still fighting and I feel good. When you see everybody going on with their lives and seeing their faith, you really are uplifted. You don’t feel alone.”
Rodney Oaks was walking next to Edwards. He says his brain cancer is in remission but still has a couple more years to go before being declared cured. He said doctors believe his cancer probably developed from Agent Orange while deployed in Vietnam.
“There are tons of people out here,” he said. “Everybody has their own story and it’s nice to talk to people.”
According to Danielle Chrisinger, Relay for Life community manager in Barstow, the event began with a complimentary breakfast for cancer survivors and caregivers and was followed with them participating in the opening lap. Then the teams took over and participated in various themed laps for the remainder of the day. Padilla said each team will have a campsite on the track that will include brochures and other items regarding the cancer the team is representing.
The event raises money for the American Cancer Society and so far $56,000 has been raised, Chrisinger said. Additional funds will be turned into the Relay for Life throughout the event, she said.
Nearly 20 teams registered to participate in the Relay for Life event in Apple Valley that also started at 9 a.m.
By Mike Lamb