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Turlock Relay for Life teams raise $46K
Carly Beard chairs this year's event in her mother's honor
relay for life
At a recent Turlock Relay for Life event, chairperson Carly Beard joined her father and stepmother, Cameron and Sandy Beard, a one year lung cancer survivor, to celebrate cancer survivors. The Turlock Relay for Life was originally founded by Carlys mother, Rebecca Beard, who passed away due to breast cancer in 2000. - photo by Photo Contributed

With the Turlock Relay for Life just around the corner, teams are continuing to gear up for the annual American Cancer Society event that helps raise money towards cancer research while honoring cancer survivors and remembering lost loved ones.

On the weekend of May 3, over 500 participants will join together at Pitman High School, with hundreds camping out to make their rounds along the track throughout the 24-hour event. As of Friday, the 54 participating teams have raised nearly $46,000, with the team “Fighting for a Cure” earning the Gold Team Fundraising Club Level by raising over $6,000 to date.

In 2013, over 1,000 participants of the Turlock Relay for Life brought in approximately $169,000, with 70 teams participating. Each year, the teams raising the most money are awarded by event organizers, alongside the top participants fundraising individually. Last year, the top three teams included Mimi’s Team, Insure a Cure, and Century 21 M and M Associates Realtors for Life, raising a combined total of nearly $37,000.

With the support of thousands of volunteers nationwide, the American Cancer Society continues to help save more than 400 lives a day, greatly in part to efforts such as Relay for Life. In previous years, the Turlock Relay for Life has been held at Dutcher Middle School, where participants line the track with candle-filled bags decorated to honor those either currently or previously battling cancer as part of the Luminaria Ceremony.

Overseeing the 2014 Turlock Relay for Life is Turlock resident Carly Beard, 24, 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, Zachary and husband Cameron.

While Carly Beard has presented the Rebecca Beard Award during the Luminaria Ceremony for the past five years to outstanding members of the community who volunteer with Relay for Life, event organizers surprised her in 2013 when she was presented with the award honoring her dedication to continuing her mother’s efforts.

“It’s been such an amazing opportunity to fill my mother’s shoes with Relay for Life,” said Beard, who says that she was thrilled to take the position of chair for this year’s event. “It was also such an honor to have received the Rebecca Beard award last year, especially with all of the dedicated committee members who I’ve presented it to in the past. I know my mother would be extremely proud of how far the Turlock Relay for Life has come over the years.”

The 2014 Turlock Relay for Life will kick off with a team breakfast at 7 a.m. May 3, before the opening ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m. The annual Survivor and Caregiver Lap will begin at 9 a.m., before the Rebecca Beard Award is presented at 9:45 a.m. The event will continue throughout the entire day with various themed laps and activities, before the closing ceremony takes place at 8 a.m. on May 4.

To learn more about the Turlock Relay for Life, visit and type in “Turlock” under Event Search, or visit the “Relay for Life Turlock” page on Facebook.