Relay to raise funds for American Cancer Society

Planning for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Taft is moving into high gear.

The planning committee and team captains in charge of organizing the inaugural Taft event on May 16-17 met last week at The Historic Fort.

Momentum is starting to swell, organizers said.

“Our goal is 25 teams,” said event chair LaNell Howell.  “We hope to raise $25,000.”

Former and current cancer patients and caretakers, those who have lost a loved one to cancer, families, businesses, civic organizations and the public are invited to take part in the 24-hour Relay for Life event.

Teams of eight-15 members solicit sponsors and gather with tents and sleeping bags to participate in the largest fundraising walk in the nation.

Team members are encouraged to raise $100 per person.

“Twenty-four team packets have been handed out and 10 have registered on-line,” said team development chair Lisa Brown.

Teams of volunteers will take turns walking around the track at Taft High School’s Patterson-O’Brien Field.  They will camp out around the track facility.

Justina Howell, who has organized teams for the Relay event held in Bakersfield and was a catalyst in promoting an event in Taft, is heading up the entertainment portion.

“We’re going to have tryouts on March 28 for a talent show we will have at the event,” she said.  “We’re also planning a Miss Relay contest for guys and a lip-syncing contest.  It will be a Taft version of America’s Got Talent.”

Local bands also will donate their time to perform.

Justina Howell also is looking for local hair stylists who can volunteer for the Locks of Love portion of Relay for Life.

“We’re looking for beauticians and hairstylists who can donate a couple of hours during the event,” she said.  “We will schedule a time that is convenient for them.”
Locks of Love accepts donations of hair that can be used to make wigs.  The wigs are then donated to cancer patients who have lost their hair through the treatment they receive to fight the disease.

“We’ll need stylists to cut off ponytails and then do some touch-up work,” she said.
Anyone interested can contact Howell at 330-8307 or by email at

Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks, organizers said.

To volunteer or have questions answered contact LaNell Howell at 330-5606 (email: or Lisa Brown at 619-9085 (email: 
Taft Relay for Life sets goals for first local event