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The 2006 Relay for Life at Ikego Housing’s track brought together 25 teams to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer.

The 2006 Relay for Life at Ikego Housing’s track brought together 25 teams to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer. (David Hewitt, Courtesy of U.S. Navy)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Dooley-Anderson knew how it felt to be angry, and she knew how it felt to be by herself.

But it wasn’t until cancer struck her family in 2005 that she understood how it felt to be alone.

In one year, both her mother and uncle died from the disease.

“I was walking around the (Ikego Housing Area) track and I was so angry, and then I remembered the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life,” Dooley-Anderson said. “Suddenly, I knew what to do.”

Relay For Life is an overnight event in which teams of people take turns walking or running laps. Each team tries to keep at least one person on the track at all times to celebrate cancer survivors and raise money for research and treatment programs.

Dooley-Anderson contacted the American Cancer Society and put together a Relay for Life for the Yokosuka area. The event raised $61,000 last year.

The second annual Relay for Life is to take place at Ikego Housing’s track from 4 p.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday. The event is open to everyone.

Cancer survivors and anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer will complete the first lap. According to Dooley-Anderson, the first lap is emotional and “highlights the importance of each participant’s contribution.”

At 8 p.m., luminarias will set the track aglow to honor cancer survivors and remember those who died from the disease.

On-site fundraising will include a variety of team-sponsored food booths and a silent auction.

“Sometimes people ask me why stay up and walk all night,” Dooley-Anderson said. “I tell them it’s symbolic. We don’t sleep because cancer never sleeps.”

For more information, visit www.acsevents.org/yokosukarelay or www.RelayForLife.org.


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