24-Hour Relay Walk Raises Funds to Fight Cancer

Teams set up camp at El Toro High School this weekend for the 7th annual Lake Forest Relay for Life.

Twenty-two teams convened Saturday morning for the 7th annual Relay for Life, a fundraiser dedicated to raising money for cancer research.

Months of fundraising culminated in a 24-hour walk on the El Toro High School soccer field, which was dotted with tents for those who planned to spend the night.

Lake Forest volunteer Bill Levegood has been participating in Relay for Life since 1997. Levegood has had cancer "on and off" since 1989, he said.

"The reason I do this is so no one has to go through what I had to go through," he said Saturday afternoon, as the sun set over the El Toro soccer field.

Over the years, Levegood has had two bone marrow transplants. He has been cancer-free since 2006.

Levegood's Relay team, the Cancer Crushers, has raised more than $250,000 since its inception, he said.

Volunteer Sally Brown walked Saturday with another long-standing team, put together by Laguna Hills company Blytheco.

Brown's brother-in-law's cancer diagnosis in 1999 spurred the company to form a team, she said. Brown and her brother-in-law worked together at Blytheco.

He died two weeks before the team's first Relay for Life, Brown said.

The Blytheco Cancer Bashers have met yearly since then for the annual fundraiser.

As part of the team's efforts, former Blytheco employee Ginny Jaranowski makes a quilt for the team to raffle each year. Though Jaranowski now lives in Colorado, she returned to Lake Forest this year with a handmade quilt to donate.

"Cancer has touched both of our lives very much," Brown said.

Her favorite aspect of Relay for Life is seeing the volunteers year after year, she said.

"When you're involved for so many years, they become like friends, like family," Brown said.

Another team leader said her goal this year was to recruit youth to become involved in Relay for Life.

Denise Sprimont, of Foothill Ranch, celebrated her 14th birthday Saturday with her Relay team, the Next Generation.

The team is formed mainly of members of the Rainbow Girls, a service club, she said.

"We're the next people who will have to fight cancer," she said. 

The teen and her team ran the Relay kids camp, which watched after children while their parents took laps around the field.

Sprimont said each of her grandparents received cancer diagnoses, as did her mother and aunt. 

"My mom is a six-year survivor," Sprimont said. Three of her grandparents lost their battles, as did Sprimont's aunt.

"We fight for them ... and because [cancer] is a nasty thing in general," she said.

Sprimont's birthday resonated with the Lake Forest Relay's motto: "Let's make more birthday's together!"

Mrs. S. October 13, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Thank you to everyone who supported Lake Forest Relay for Life! Infinity Rainbow Girls and adults, you were awesome!


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