American Cancer Society Relay for Life Paints the Town Purple

Story and Photos by Diane Andrews

American Cancer Society volunteers are painting the town purple to spread the word about the 2018 Santa Clara Relay for Life April on 28 and 29 at Buchser Middle School’s Townsend Field, 1111 Bellomy St.

About 30 volunteers, some wearing purple T-shirts, fanned out around the business hubs in Santa Clara on Feb. 10, passing out purple Relay for Life fliers for businesses to post and sharing information. They want the community to team up and step out for the annual Santa Clara vs. Cancer walk.

“We want to make people interested. This is our chance to get people’s interest to know what Relay is. They may not know,” said Tabitha Kappeler-Hurley, City Relay co-chair with Rucha Navanati.

First stops for Paint the Town Purple volunteers Krissy Barker and Kathy Gamch were Stan’s Donut Shop and Kid to Kid in Mariposa Shopping Center, 2760 Homestead Rd.

“We all know people who have been affected, and I’m happy to support Relay for Life,” said Kid to Kid store owner Steve Sanfilippo, taking a purple poster from Gamch.

Each type of cancer has its own designated color, and just as pink is the designated color for breast cancer, purple is the color of Relay for Life, which represents all types of cancer. Purple symbolizes hope.

Purple is said to be uplifting, encourage creativity and calm the mind and nerves. Color theorists believe that a child’s imagination develops more strongly in a purple room. Leonardo da Vinci believed that meditation increases tenfold when done in purple light.

Each year—at different times from city to city throughout the U.S. and world—individuals form Relay for Life teams and walk nonstop for 24 hours, symbolizing that cancer never sleeps. In Santa Clara, team members take turns walking from 10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday.

The 2017 Santa Clara relay raised more than $93,000 for community education, patient programs and resources, and cancer research. The 2018 goal is $110,000.

It’s a family carnival atmosphere at Townsend Field. Relay for Life teams set up tents ringing the 400-meter track, allowing some to nap while others walk through the night. Teams compete to see which can do the most laps.

Each team decorates a booth and devises clever fund raising activities. One team rents out decorated bras that the walkers (often the guys!) wear over their T-shirts. Some teams sell baked goods. There is entertainment during the day and a movie at night.

Santa Clara University (SCU) and the City have combined their Relay for Life walks into one event.

“I want to be part of a great cause,” said SCU student co-chair Katie Grimm, who has one aunt who is a cancer survivor and one who passed away from cancer. “We’re all affected, but we’re bringing hope to everyone.”

It’s also personal for SCU student co-chair Cindy Stella. She knows more than 15 family and friends who have been diagnosed with cancer or passed away from cancer.

“I love being involved with Relay for Life. It’s such an important cause. It’s so rewarding,” said Stella. “We can all relate.”

“People in my family have beat cancer, and [American Cancer Society] is one of our Chamber members,” said volunteer Nick Kaspar, Interim Director of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce. “We’re happy to support our nonprofits. This has a lot of impact on us.”

For information about Santa Clara Relay for Life, visit www.RelayForLife.org/SantaClaraCA.

Join a team, register a new team, donate to team members, be a relay sponsor. Non-walkers are also needed to help raise awareness about ACS  resources for cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and support.

For information about beating cancer, visit www.cancer.org.