Dance, cheer teams raise money at Relay for Life


Freshman cheerleaders Ketura Doyle Phillips, Nica Perez, Libi Mortensen and Ishiqa Sukkar walk the Hawaiian-themed lap at Relay for Life. Photo by Rylea Gillis.

The dance and cheer teams attended Relay for Life of Rocklin on Oct. 3, an event hosted by the American Cancer Society to raise money for cancer research. The relay took place all day at Margaret Azevedo Park, a facility rented for free from the Rocklin Parks and Recreation Department.

Relay for Life is formatted as a team walking and fundraising event. Participants sign up in groups and collect money for the organization before and during the event. Team members who raise $100 individually before the event is over earn a Relay for Life T-shirt. Teams could also set up booths at the event to sell items or offer services for money. At the same time, at least one person from every team must be on the track walking at all times.

Each hour there is either a dress-up theme for walkers or a competition among the teams. Themed laps included Hawaiian luau, patriotic and Halloween. The first challenge of the day was to be the first person to break apart and unravel a rolled frozen T-shirt, put it on and run a lap in it. JV cheerleader Alexis Lienhard finished second out of 20 participants and won an umbrella as a prize, in addition to getting to keep her T-shirt.

“I was very happy and surprised that I was one of the first finishers. I really enjoy this event because I can bond with my teammates while doing fun contests and walking laps for a good cause,” Lienhard said.

Besides taking part in the competitions, the cheer teams also raised money throughout the event by running a “torture” booth. Walkers could pay five dollars to have one of their team members’ hair spray-painted, face painted as a clown or sprayed with silly string. The team collected $2,730 in total to donate to the American Cancer Society, which was the second most of any team there.

The dance team ran a fundraiser during the walk as well. They sold pre-made “wish bracelets” in addition to necklaces that participants could add a bead to for every lap they walked.

Coach Halley Crandell explained why her team fundraises at Relay for Life every year.

“The girls love coming out to events like this to raise money for such a good cause, [and] cancer research especially because it has affected many of our loved ones,” Crandell said.

The dance team has attended other walks in the past such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night. But event volunteer Lynne Phan believes Relay for Life is unique to other cancer fundraisers.

“We bring in teams of people from all different backgrounds that come together to drive for one cause. It really is a long, endearing event, 12 to 24 hours depending on the location, and this is different from the usual walks that are a couple hours long,” Phan said.

She encourages people who have never done the walk to come out and do it.

Phan said, “The whole time teams are walking it’s a constant reminder of those who are battling cancer and how we’re helping them by raising money. Everyone should try it one day because it really is a rewarding event.”