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Walkers keep it going for 24 hours

Gary Moskowitz

LA CRESCENTA -- Wind, cloudy skies and cooler temperatures did not

keep residents from participating in the 24-hour Foothills Relay for Life

event Saturday at Crescenta Valley High School.

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The second annual event raised more than $25,000 for the American

Cancer Society. Money goes toward research, education and patient

services for people with cancer.

Teams of walkers participated in Saturday’s event. Team members took

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turns walking around the track at CV High beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday

and continued until 9 a.m. Sunday.

More than 20 cancer survivors began the relay by walking the first

lap.

Redondo Beach resident Sandy Semrod said not even shin splints and

hives on her ankles would keep her from walking through the night.

Semrod participated Saturday to give respect to many close friends and

family members who have died from various forms of cancer or are now

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being treated.

“Cancer is the most evil word in the dictionary. It’s heart wrenching

to think how many people have died from this terrible disease,” Semrod

said. “It’s like driving, in that you think you’re never going to get

into a car wreck, but it happens. Everybody is touched by cancer in some

way.”

Tents lined the infield of CV High’s track, as many participants

camped out for the entire 24 hours of the relay. Local and area

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businesses, civic groups and families donated to the event, including

food and drinks for relay walkers.

Luminaries lined the entire track and were lit at 9 p.m. Saturday as a

bagpipe was played. Each luminary had a cancer victim’s name written on

it, with messages like “I miss you every day” and “We love you and miss

you physically but know you are watching over all of us.”

Carolina Waldhiem, 31, came from Encino to walk in Saturday’s relay,

in support of two family members who have had surgery for cancer in the

past six months.

“I just don’t know why so many people have to die,” Waldhiem said.

Karen Rubenstein, director of special events for the San Fernando

Valley unit of the American Cancer Society, said she got involved with

the organization after watching a 27-year-old friend of hers go through

four brain cancer surgeries.

“You feel like you’re part of a huge family when you are here because

everybody has been touched by cancer in their own lives,” Rubenstein

said.

Nationwide, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life events will

raise about $16 million domestically for cancer research, Rubenstein

said.


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