Teams getting ready for American Cancer Society fundraiser

Taft's annual Relay for Life is just three months away and planning for the sixth annual event shifted into high gear this week a 90-minute kickoff meeting.

About a dozen teams were represented and more are expected to form.

This year's relay will be held on May 17-18 at the Taft Union High School track.

The theme for this year's Relay is "Purple – The New Black."

Winnie Carty, a survivor co-chair for the relay, explained the theme.

"Purple is the universal color for cancer," she said. "Black is the color for sorrow."

That means the goal is for "more birthdays, less tears."

The meeting featured a visit from American Cancer Society staff partner Donna Hermann.

She presented the Taft relay with two banners and two plaques. Taft's relay, along with others around Kern, made the county the top money raiser per capita in the nation, Hermann said, and also brought the most cancer survivors per capita.

Hermann also discussed recent discussions about where the money raised at relays go.

Some people have been upset that the money goes to the national level.

Hermann said that's where it needs to go, so it can be funneled into research to find cures for cancers.

"If nobody finds a cure, we're not going to make a difference," Hermann said. "We want the money to go to where the research is. It can't stay here if we don't want to find a cure."

The maximum team size for this year's event has been increased to 14.

"Paint the Town Purple Day,"when purple ribbons are tied on trees all over town, is April 12.

Captains meeting will be held on the second Tuesday of the month until the relay.