Relay for Life this weekend

DOWNEY - You may have noticed a splash of purple around Downey High School this week.Purple bows were tied on trees and on the fence surrounding the school, the floors were covered in purple chalk with cancer awareness facts and drawings, purple banners and balloons were hung around the school walls, and the Viking stage was covered in purple with purple foot prints in which students dedicated messages to those who have lost the fight against cancer.

Purple is the color associated with Relay for Life, which honors cancer victims and survivors. "We're painting the school purple," said teacher Alex Gaytan, a Relay for Life event organizer. "This is really huge for us because we have all lost loved ones to cancer and we want the whole city of Downey to get involved in the fight."

On Friday more than 50 students will break out into dance all dressed in purple as they surprise the student body of Downey High School with a flash mob and encourage them to attend Relay for Life on Saturday.

"We are hoping our flash mob will inspire and light a fire in the hearts of many students so that they will support his worthy cause," said Natalie Garcia president of the Downey KIWIN'S, a youth service club.

The community is invited to join the fun and to come out to Downey Adult School and support the teams, whose members will continuously walk around the track for 24 hours. There will be plenty to do, too. Teams will be selling food and running games and Nonstop entertainment will be provided including a people's choice movie showing at midnight.

The opening ceremony starts at 9 a.m. followed by the a survivor's lap at 9:30 am.

"We really want to celebrate more and more survivors this year," said Jesus Pelayo, team captain of the Downey KIWIN'S. "We have a lot of powerful ceremonies to celebrate survivors, caregivers and the luminaria is really a time when we remember those we've lost."

The 9 p.m. luminary ceremony is a quiet, reflective time in which white decorated bags are illuminated by a candle in honor of loved ones who have lost their battle with cancer.

"Each luminaria bears the name of someone who has battled cancer. For those taken from us, this is the time when we find comfort in realizing that no one who we have truly loved is ever lost," said Marvin Manzanarez, who is serving as entertainment chair for the Relay. "By placing their names on the luminaria bags we memorialize the love for them which we continue to carry in our hearts."

For more information, call Sharon Newberg at (562) 940-6211 or go online to

********** Published: May 31, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 07