On May 21st, our small band of brothers and sisters forfeited an entire weekend to battle cancer at the Relay For Life in Anderson, Ca. The weather was near perfect! The team was in top physical condition (well mostly) to meet the challenge of pulling a 24 hour forced march against an unseen enemy that has attacked so many friends and family. Here’s how it went down…
As the Team Captain, Cancer Survivor, and De facto Mess Sergeant, it is my great honor to report that our small squad raised nearly $2500 for the cause. We also pulled KP (Kitchen Police) and ground up boo koo batches of Kona coffee beans, and kept the pot hot all through the night for other relay volunteers who stopped by “The Swamp”. We were happy to furnish hot chocolate for younger troops as well, including our own Jack Scaggs (Ho Jon). Jack’s Dad and former U.S. Marine, Jeff Scaggs (Hawkeye Pierce) looked stunning in his surgeon’s scrubs, cowboy hat and pathetic robe! Jeff’s wife Audry (Nurse) walked her socks off and kept her crew in line. Jeff is the owner of Northern California Notary Services.
Our weekend outpost was powered with its own generator furnished by Jim Blasquez (Trapper John), so we had ample electricity for the coffee grinder. He also served as the company Photographer and event Videographer. Jim is the owner of Indigo Images and also a former U.S. Marine, Ooh-Rah!
More than a few relay participants stopped by for a photo op. We were fortunate to have our very own, highly qualified Radar O’Reilly in camp. Chris Gomez played that role so beautifully in the recent north state premier of the play M*A*S*H. He is employed by KRCR TV – Channel 7 and is active in Redding Improv Players, a very funny crowd to run with!
Jim Roth (Frank Burns) brought along his very own nurse Becky Roth. Becky was a strong walker while Frank…. er’ I mean Jim did what he does best, which is to button hole other relay participants and squeeze a buck out of them for the camp site fundraiser. We needed someone to pick on like they did to Frank, and Jim was just such an easy target! He is also a former U.S. Marine, so you don’t want to push too hard, Ya’ know? Jim is employed at Shasta Lake Floors.
Ron Largent (Lt. Col.) an actual retired Air Force officer did a fly by too. Ron laid out cash and challenged everyone to jog the track with him. He is over 70 years young and is like a Tasmanian Devil out there on the field. Oh yeah, he started out jogging, but after about 3/4 of a lap he kicked in the afterburners and left us in the dust! Ron is the President of The United Way of Northern California.
Someone (anonymous) donated a lovely Victoria Secret bra, size 38D, in survivor purple. As in the movie M*A*S*H, we immediately ran it up the flagpole and started taking guesses about the details of the unmentionable item we just mentioned! Of all the takers, there was only one correct guess. Of course it was an Anderson Cop by the name of Robert, who quickly (and with great confidence) entered the winning guess. He commented that he was a man who really knew his sexy lingerie! All righty then!
Mike Ferrier (Col. Henry Blake) provided top leadership as expected. Mike is a Cancer Survivor who lost his son to that dread disease. Mike’s Oncologist, Dr. Chalmer Carter passed away the very day of our relay. Dr. Carter was present when Mike lost his son. There is never a question of lukewarm commitment with Mike. When he shows up it is always with an Eagle Scout standard. Perhaps that flows from the fact that he is an Eagle Scout! We needed a company flag over the camp. Mike did not simply bring a flag on a stick, but crafted a regulation 20 foot standard out of two 10 foot natural poles. He lashed them together and tied it all off with a three-way stake down. Mike is the keeper of the big 9/11 Memorial Flag so proudly waving on I-5, furnished by the Enterprise Lions Club.
Rhonda Robertson (Lt. Dish) was lovely and carried a camera around her neck for most of the event. She took about 300 pics. Rhonda really showed her great sense of humor by laughing out loud every time someone cracked a silly joke. She was a fantastic team member who was like the energizer bunny who just kept on walking! Rhonda is a very caring person. Perhaps that is why she is the Home Style Services Manager at Interim HomeStyle.
Kelly Walker (Motor Pool Sgt.) was indispensable with his Payless Building Supply pickup. He loaded up and transported the camp, then was standing tall when it came time to “Bug Out”! Kelly was accompanied by his sweet wife Marla (Nurse) who is employed by Food Maxx in Redding. Both Kelly and Marla did a ton of laps in honor of their family!
Last but certainly not least was our top fundraiser Marleen Hoffman (Maj. Houlihan). Marleen was marching in memory of her late husband Bill Hoffman. M*A*S*H was one of his favorite shows. Marleen took a ton of photos as well. She was a dynamo when it came to relay. Her reason to relay and team spirit truly raised the bar for everyone present.
I lost my Mom to stomach cancer when she was just 60. Two of my brothers had prostate cancer. I am also a survivor. We CAN do something about this! Our reasons are many to Celebrate Life, Fight Back against Cancer, and Remember those loved ones we have lost. If you missed the Relay in Anderson, we encourage you to sign up for the one coming up in Redding on June 11th. Just visit www.relayforlife.org/reddingca for more info.
My deepest gratitude goes out to my fellow team members, along with every caring contributor and supporter of the M*A*S*H Relay For Life Team – 2011!