After 14 years of celebration, fighting back against cancer and remembering those we lost, the Tehachapi Relay for Life event will be ending after one last Party for a Cure!

Join the 2018 Relay Committee on Sept. 22 for a grand finale celebration of Relay for Life and look back fondly on the impact Relay had on our community since 2004. Party for a Cure will be at Woods Pavilion from 5-9 p.m. It will start with an opening ceremony honoring our survivors and conclude with our last Luminaria Ceremony to remember all those we have lost to cancer.

“After so many years of being involved in Relay, it is very emotional to see it end,” said Diana Williams, Tehachapi Area Association of Realtors participant and past Re/Max team captain. “My husband Jack recently passed away from a stroke, and Relay was his favorite event. This party will be our closure, and an opportunity to say goodbye to something very important in all our lives.”

Tickets for the event will be $15 ($20 at the door) and will include dinner, entertainment, raffles and an opportunity to help the American Cancer Society fight cancer! Tickets can be purchased by calling 661-327-7827 and asking for Christina or by visiting Glamour Salon, Country Real Estate, Re/Max or Dignified Home Loans. Survivors, of course, will be invited to the event for free, but still need a ticket. There are only 200 tickets available for the event.

Relay for Life Tehachapi started in 2004 when Ron and Doris Depew were asked by the American Cancer Society in Bakersfield to start a Relay in Tehachapi.

“I was on the American Cancer Society Board, and they felt Tehachapi would be a great place for a Relay,” said Doris. “We started asking our friends and family to help, and we got such a great response from the community, we decided to do it and had a fantastic first year!”

Over 14 years, the Tehachapi Relay would go on to raise $1.7 million for the American Cancer Society. Money raised from our efforts goes to fund the mission of the American Cancer Society through research, local patient services and advocacy and help provide education to the community.

“We must have a cure now!” said Jim Wallace, long-time participant and 35-year cancer survivor. “My wife Tammy and I started Relay in 2004, and we were hooked! Tammy passed away from cancer in 2014, and we all know someone that has had cancer. This event will let us unite one more time to honor and remember them all.”

Relay became a family reunion each year for many – a place to gather and share a common goal of eradicating cancer and remembering all those we loved.

“I too lost my husband Paul to cancer,” said Susan Mueller, the event chairman from 2009-2010 who also held many other Relay positions. “I also lost my sister to cancer, and before Paul past, he asked me to get involved in Relay, and I became the Survivor Chair. It became a 10-year passion for me and an important part of my life. We need this final event to honor all the people who worked so hard to raise all the funds, and most important, to remember those who lost the battle.”

Robin Sondergren, the fight back chair for many years and a cancer survivor, also expressed that Relay is a chance for people to gather and help find a cure. 

“Everyone has a story," Sondergren said. "We needed Relay to help fund the cure. This event will be our opportunity to come together again as a community to fight against cancer! Even though Relay is stopping in Tehachapi, we must never stop until we have a cure!”

Duana Pera is on the Tehachapi Relay Committee.