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Community: Relay for Life sheds light on the fight against cancer

May 15, 2012|By Joyce Rudolph
  • Larry Rangel, left, of Santa Clarita, and Henry Gross of Burbank walk in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life Saturday, May 12, 2012 at Johnny Carson Park in Burbank. The 24-hour walk started at 9 a.m. Saturday and continued until 9 a.m. Sunday.
Larry Rangel, left, of Santa Clarita, and Henry Gross… (Photo by Joyce Rudolph )

Burbank residents shined a light on the fight against all cancers with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, a 24-hour walk around Johnny Carson Park that began at 9 a.m. Saturday and ended at 9 a.m. Sunday.

“We walk for 24 hours because cancer never sleeps,” said Daniela Barragan, Relay for Life manager, who is based in the American Cancer Society's Burbank office.

The Burbank walk was organized by volunteer co-chairs Nate Frey and Michelle Jacobovitz and 22 committee members. More than 700 people registered. Each year more than 300 events like this are held across the state and 5,000 events are held throughout the country, Barragan said.

The funds raised go to cancer research and to services such as free wigs for chemotherapy patients and rides to treatment. Events were held throughout the 24-hour walk to celebrate cancer survivors, to remember those lost to cancer and to fight back against cancer.


Among the teams walking were “Chad's Champions,” in support of cancer patient Chad Becken, 37, and the “Dan the Man” team, honoring the memory of Dan Linegar, founder of the Burbank Relay event, who died from esophageal cancer in November.

Becken's illness proves that colon cancer isn't contracted just by older people, said his mother Susie Becken. People in their 20s and 30s should start getting tested, especially if there is a history of cancer in the family.

“A simple colon test can save your life,” she said.

A special tribute in honor of Linegar was held during the luminaria ceremony on Saturday evening. More than 500 illuminated paper bags lined the park, in the names of survivors those who had passed away.

Linegar was a huge supporter of Burbank Temporary Aid Center and ran its Santa's Room for five years, said Victoria Sands of Burbank.

“I feel this event is his legacy,” she said.

A section of the park had a display of white sheets decorated with multi-colored handprints made by survivors.

Veronica Hudson, cancer research coordinator at the Roy Disney Family Cancer Center in Burbank, knew many of the names.

“Seeing these patients' names — it's incredible,” she said. “They are so strong. They just keep fighting.”

For questions about cancer, live representatives can be called 24 hours a day at (800) ACS-2345. Seven languages are spoken.

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