Jen Minard and Danika Sanchez, two volunteers with a multi-year history with the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life, have been named co-chairs for the 2010 SCV Relay, scheduled for May 22-23 at Central Park. Monthly committee meetings and team captain meetings are underway to prepare for the event, which brings thousands of walkers raising funds to fight cancer in all of its forms.
The two co-chairs will share responsibilities, with Minard overseeing accounting, registration, special events and logistics/production and Sanchez supervising teams, survivorship, Fight Back, publicity and corporate sponsorship. This year's goal is 150 teams, $600,000 gross and $550,000 in net profit.
A transplanted New Yorker, Minard has lived in Santa Clarita for the last 18 years. She joined the fight against cancer when her aunt, with whom she lived in Santa Clarita, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. The two experienced their first Relay as members of the team formed by the Bosom Buddies support group for patients and survivors of breast cancer.
Since 2001, Minard has been involved with Relay as a team member, team captain, volunteer, committee member and now as event chair.
"I am privileged to work with a great group of Relay Committee volunteers," Minard commented. "Our local American Cancer Society has a great staff and volunteer corps of people ready to be there for you or your loved one after hearing the words, ‘you have cancer.'" She looks forward to the day when a Relay For Life event will no longer be about fundraising to find a cure, but a celebration because the cure is here and cancer is history!
Sanchez comes to the co-captain position after serving as a Relay team captain for the past four years and a member of the Captains' Council for the past two years.
"Relay For Life is such a powerful event because it gives a face to the cause," Sanchez explained. "Relay gives people a place to learn more about where their money is going, to see faces of people their donations are helping, and feel the emotions behind the charity."
Her goal with Relay is to raise even more funds and awareness this year than ever before, and to see the SCV Relay become the largest fundraising Relay in the country. "I've never been involved in anything that has a greater immediate impact on the soul than Relay," she concluded.
The Relay For Life Committee meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at the Residence Inn on The Old Road in Stephenson Ranch and volunteers who are interested in helping with the event are welcome to attend. The co-chairs are particularly seeking committee members willing to offer their expertise and enthusiasm in the areas of publicity and recruiting event volunteers.
Last year's SCV Relay brought in more than $562,000 to support the battle against cancer, the second time in a row that the local event has brought in record funds over the $500,000 mark. Relay For Life is the single most effective fund-raising event for the American Cancer Society locally.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) is the nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS works toward that goal by preventing cancer, savings lives from cancer, and diminishing suffering from cancer by supporting research, education, advocacy and service.
Cancer information is available 24 hours a day at www.cancer.org  or by calling (800) ACS-2345. Santa Clarita Valley Relay For Life information is available by checking on the Web at http://www.scvrelay.org , calling 259-0886, option 3, or contacting staff member Danielle Anziano at Danielle.Anziano@cancer.org .