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Walk helps fight against cancer

Mark R. Madler

As a breast cancer survivor, Hilary Star is well aware of the medical

side of the battle against cancer.

In taking part in the second annual Burbank Relay for Life this


weekend, the Van Nuys resident will see another side in that fight.

It’s the side on which survivors mark recovery from diseases and

loved ones remember those whose fate was not so fortunate.

“I’m sure it will be something soulful and spiritual, where every


feeling is prevalent within oneself and the other people,” Star said.

“I thought that would be a good place to be.”

The event kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday and goes until 8 a.m.

Sunday at Robert E. Gross Park, 2800 Empire Ave. More than 40 teams

are expected to participate, more than double the number that took

part in last year’s inaugural relay in the city.

Star will walk with a team from the radiology department from

Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, a major sponsor of the event.


“I went to the doctor [recently] and found out the nurses and

staff were participating,” said Star, who was diagnosed in January

2004 and has completed her treatments. “That’s when I thought about

doing it.”

Last year’s turnout far exceeded the expectations of the

organizing committee with more than $80,000 being raised, said Lynne

Fortner, a committee member.

“We had people on the track for the 24 hours, which is the whole


purpose of an all-night event,” Fortner said. “With the teams we have

this year, we expect the track to be busy again.”

Education is also an important component to the event, so there

will be information on early detection and what foods to eat to

reduce chances of having the disease, said Dan Linegar, another

member of the organizing committee.

“Early detection definitely helps,” said Linegar, a survivor of

esophageal cancer. “It’s not a guarantee, but you have a really good

chance to survive cancer.”

During the relay there will be several events, including the

Survivor’s Ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, and a luminaria ceremony

at 9 p.m. Saturday. The luminaria is a candlelight vigil in which

each flame represents a cancer victim. The event also features live

entertainment, and local businesses will supply food and beverages.

Balloon toss and pie-eating contests will take place as well as a

formal-wear contest at 1:30 a.m., and a pajama contest at 3:30 a.m.


WHAT: Second annual Burbank Relay for Life

WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday

WHERE: Robert E. Gross Park, 2800 Empire Ave.

INFO: American Cancer Society, (818) 841-2994