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Daughter fills mothers shoes with Turlocks Relay for Life
relay for life pic
A happy Rebecca and Carly pose for a picture before a family wedding in 2000. Rebecca lost her battle with breast cancer at age 36. - photo by Photo Contributed

As one of the community's largest annual events, the Relay for Life of Turlock is gearing up for another year of gathering to support those affected by cancer.

On Tuesday, Turlock residents are invited to join organizers of the annual event for the Relay Kickoff Rally. Offering tons of information about how community members can get involved with the American Cancer Society, the Relay Kickoff Rally hopes to help bring people together who are interested in helping and learning more about Relay for Life.

This year’s event will be spearheaded by Turlock resident Carly Beard, whose mother, Rebecca Beard, started the Turlock Relay for Life in 1997 after being diagnosed with breast cancer. After three years of battling the disease, Rebecca Beard passed away in 2000, survived by her children Carly, 9, Zachary, 6, and husband Cameron.

Now at the age of 24, her daughter Carly has taken on the task of filling her mother’s shoes by continuing her passion for helping others struggling with cancer as she takes the position of chair for this year’s event.

“It’s been 13 years since my mom passed and I’ve finally been given the amazing opportunity to fill her shoes, which are very hard shoes to fill, but I’m finally ready,” said Carly. “After receiving the award that honors my mother last year, it was really exciting to learn that I was asked to serve as chair for this year’s event. I’m very excited.”

Over the past five years, Carly Beard has presented the Rebecca Beard Award at the Turlock Relay for Life event, sharing the story of her mother’s battle with cancer and the memories they shared together. Each year the Rebecca Beard Award is given to outstanding members of the community who have gone above and beyond in volunteering with Relay for Life while demonstrating a dedication to the event’s cause. In 2012, the award was presented to Carly, who has continually been involved with the event since her mother’s passing.

“I’m excited to see what Turlock is capable of in terms of fundraising this year,” said Carly. “We always have a great group of supporters each year, and so I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone come out again for this wonderful event.”

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is an overnight community celebration where people around the nation come together in teams to camp out, barbecue, dance and take turns walking around a track relay-style to help raise funds to research and fight cancer. When the sun goes down, participants join to light hundreds of candles for the Luminaria ceremony to honor cancer survivors and remember those lost to the disease.

The Relay for Life Kickoff Rally will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Valley Hope Community Church, located at 610 W. Hawkeye Avenue. For more information about the American Cancer Society, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit