Dan Linegar has been cancer-free for five years. He is one of the
fortunate people who survived esophageal cancer, a particularly
vicious form of the disease that typically strikes middle-age white
men, and offers no better than a 20% survival rate.
Linegar, 57, who recently lost a friend to the same type of cancer
and thinks he is about to lose another one, will join community
members at a rally Wednesday night to plan Burbank’s first Relay for
Life, a 24-hour festival to raise cancer awareness.
The Burbank resident, who participated in Santa Monica’s first
Relay for Life festival last year, will speak about his experience at
the local festival.
“The Relay for Life is a celebration of life,” Linegar said.
“You’re not there to mourn, you’re there to celebrate the living. We
conquered cancer, and that’s the important thing.”
At the relay at Santa Monica City College, Linegar sold luminaries
to friends and family members of cancer patients while team members
took turns walking during the 24-hour event. The candles were
dedicated to cancer survivors or used to memorialize those who
succumbed to the disease, Linegar said.
“In the evening when the sun started to go down, we placed the
[candles] around the track and lighted them. And in the stadium
bleachers, we spelled out ‘HOPE’ in luminaries,” Linegar said.
Samantha Rosen, chairwoman of Burbank’s relay festival, hopes
community members who participate will come away with a new awareness
of the dangers of cancer.
“If I can prevent the guy who sells me my Starbucks in the morning
from ever having to deal with this disease, then I feel that I’ve
made a contribution,” Rosen said.
The festival date has not been set, but Rosen said that it is
planned for sometime in July. The committee hopes to stage it at John
Burroughs High School’s Memorial Field.