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Annual Cancer Society fundraiser exceeds goals
Relay for Life pic2
Community members young and old participated in this year's Relay for Life event held at Dutcher Middle School on Saturday. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

The community of Turlock, once again, showed its spirit and commitment to making the world a better place on Saturday by exceeding the fundraising goal for the 2010 Relay for Life.

Seventy-three teams and 1,150 registered participants descended upon the track at Dutcher Middle School on Saturday for the 24-hour walking event to raise money for the American Cancer Society. This year’s Relay for Life raised a total of $197,000 — $12,000 over the goal for this year’s event and $8,000 more than last year.

“I was a little worried about making our goal this year,” said 2010 Relay for Life Chairperson Kristin Bettencourt. “To say I was surprised (to exceed the goal) is an understatement. Turlock is at the top when it comes to giving. It was a busy weekend and still the event was so successful.”

Team Hilmar Cheese brought in the most donations for Relay for Life, raising $14,018. The top individual fundraiser was Shirley Coelho of the team Bosom Buddies. She raised $6,995 in donations. A brand new Relay for Life team — Kicking Cancer to the Curb — earned the title of top on-site fundraiser, raising $1,500 with their “jail and bail” booth.

While the goal of the yearly event is to raise money for cancer research, Relay for Life also gives community members a chance to celebrate the lives of people who are winning the battle against cancer and remember those lost to the disease.

Turlock couple Leo and Shelley Gendernalik attended Saturday’s event as individual cancer survivors — Leo a two-year survivor and Shelley a three-year survivor — while remembering their daughter who lost her battle with the disease.

“I’m here today for our daughter and other people who are not as fortunate as we are,” said Leo Gendernalik. “(Our battles) are not much compared to what some people go through. We’re very lucky.”

To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.