Seeing hundreds of people walking the track along the perimeter of
Gross Park Saturday encouraged, yet saddened, cancer survivor Kari
Burbank’s second annual Relay for Life event drew 38 teams from
Burbank’s community groups, businesses and public service
“In a way, it’s scary to be reminded of how many people get cancer
today,” Makenna said. “At the same time, it’s so wonderful to see so
many people care.”
A breast cancer survivor from La Crescenta, Makenna remembers the
frightening and trying nine months of treatments.
During the 24-hour event, each of the teams keeps at least one
member on the track to signify how a cancer patient walks 24 hours a
day with the disease.
Before the relay began Saturday it had already raised $57,000,
team recruiter Danella Putna said.
Proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society, which will use
the money to research a cure for cancer.
This year’s Relay for Life was the second for Burbank, but the
event has already more than doubled in size. Last year just 13 teams
As team members walked, many wearing purple T-shirts that denoted
a cancer survivor, participants enjoyed live music and games like a
water balloon toss, a pie eating contest and a formal wear contest.
Water bottles sat in buckets full of ice along the track and
volunteers periodically walked among teams, passing out slices of
Several of the teams pitched tents in preparation for the
Sharie Van Gilder, of Sherman Oaks, was one of those bunking down
for the evening with a tent, along with her three boys and her
sister’s son, Hunter. Susan Jackson, Van Gilder’s sister and Hunter’s
mother, died in March from a form of cancer usually diagnosed in
Van Gilder had once donated to Relay for Life when her stepmother
participated in an event in Illinois, but she felt a need to get
“I’m sure I will be involved forever, because it’s so close to my
heart,” Van Gilder said.
The network formed through Relay for Life is a lifeline itself,
helping those newly diagnosed with cancer find out what questions
need to be asked and where to turn to for more information, Putna