Relay for Life

Don Trigg, right, pushes mom Shirley Rhodes, a cancer survivor, along the track at Napa Valley College on Saturday. Also present were his wife, Robin, far left, granddaughter, Alina, in the stroller, and daughter, Maryah Trigg,  center. Kerana Todorov/Register

More than 600 people came to Napa Valley College Saturday to take part in Relay for Life, which raises money for the fight against cancer.

The event, in its 15th year in Napa, had raised $68,000 as of Saturday morning, organizers said. But more donations are expected throughout the weekend and until the end of the month, they emphasized. The committee hopes to raise $163,000 this year, organizers said.

“I think it’s going pretty smoothly,” said Jaymie Kilgore, Relay for Life’s online chairwoman.

Nancy Stetler, the event chairwoman, became involved in Relay for Life six years ago, inspired by a co-worker who was battling cancer. Stetler said was grateful to Napa residents and Relay for Life’s volunteers.

“We’re not giving up in the fight against cancer,” she said. “It’s just important we keep fighting.”

Among the 75 teams signed up this year was Heather DeSplinter’s. DeSplinter’s older brother, Chip, died of brain cancer in 1974 at age 4 1/2.

DeSplinter, 31, organized a team with her family, including three sisters and her parents.

“It’s nice to get the community involved,” said DeSplinter, who was born a few years after her brother died.

The event was also a family affair for breast cancer survivor Shirley Rhodes, 77, of Vallejo, who came with her son, Don Trigg (and his wife Robin) of Vacaville, a nurse’s aide at the Veterans Home of California at Yountville; granddaughter, Maryah Trigg of Fairfield; and great-granddaughter, Alina, 8 months.

Rhodes, a breast cancer survivor, said she enjoyed the event, as Don Trigg pushed her in her wheelchair along the track.

Trigg said he was impressed with the camaraderie at Relay for Life. “Everybody gets some type of feeling of support,” he said.

Kim Lloyd of Temecula, who grew up in Napa, came to support her sister’s team, along with her husband, Norman, and daughters, Kyra, 8, and Hallie, 6.

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“This is pretty awesome,” Kim Lloyd said after checking out the restored 1952 Ford Van Pelt fire truck that belongs to Pink Heals Napa Valley, an organization that raises money for Napa County’s cancer victims. The fire truck is based at CalFire St. Helena.

Dewey Powell, a resident at the veterans home who came with its wheelchair drill team, was also impressed.

“I think it is a really good thing,” he said of Relay for Life. “It helps a lot of people.”

Dan Muresan of Napa came with his wife, Cathy, a retired nurse, and grandchildren, Jonathan, 13, and Alex, 12. 

“It’s for a good cause,” said Dan Muresan, as he struggled to carry two

20-pound ice bags from the parking lot to the tent of their team, the “Cancer Crusaders.”

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