By Mira Reverente
Doug Lasater is going to try something different at this year’s American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Agoura on April 26-27.
“I’m going to walk 54 miles or the equivalent of two marathons in 24 hours,” said Lasater, who lost his wife Kim to acute myloid leukemia in November 2012. Last year, the Agoura resident gained some local notoriety by walking around the Willow Elementary School track for 24 hours in honor of his wife.
This year, Lasater will have plenty of company–friends and family members who will ensure he won’t be walking alone, especially at night.
Relay for Life Agoura is in its 11th year. Just like in years past, team recruitment and fundraising are in full swing.
“We have a lot of new teams this year, mostly from churches in the area and their youth groups like Agoura Bible Fellowship,” said Jenni Campbell, event chairperson.
Campbell hopes to attract 400 participants and raise $60,000, a big leap from the less than $10,000 raised by only eight teams last year.
“A lot of money comes in during the last few days, so I’m very optimistic,” said Campbell, whose own sister is in remission from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “The relay has become my therapy in a way.”
Campbell has come a long way from 2004 when she first moved to Agoura, devoid of any knowledge as to what the Relay for Life is. “I was just this business person wanting to give away sunscreen and then there was a picture of me holding a luminaria bag,” she said, laughing at the recollection.
These glowing ornaments are distinct at every relay event, lining the track as the sun sets. Traditionally white, the bags are decorated and personalized by volunteers. The luminaria candles can either represent a person touched by cancer or they can be dedicated to a relay participant.
Campbell and her team have also come up with interesting ways to get participants engaged, especially at night. There will be themed laps every hour, from a “Super Hero Lap” on Saturday afternoon, to an “LAPD Lap” in the wee hours of Sunday morning, featuring some LAPD officers coming home from their shifts.
There will be live entertainment as well as a yoga class, a zumba class, movies and raffles. Lunch, dinner and desserts will also be provided by local restaurants.
On Sunday morning, a pancake breakfast, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Woodland Hills, will precede the closing ceremony at 10 am.
Lasater anticipates multiple shoe changes, a few breaks, many blisters, some aches and pains and a sleepless night but remains unfazed and resolute.
“My wife, like so many others, fought so hard to fight cancer and didn’t get a day off” Lasater said. “This is the least I can do.”
For more info or to sign up, click here.