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Friday, May 12, 2017

A Relay Wedding to Raise HOPE for Those with Cancer

Thirteen years ago, Heather C. Morrow lost her husband to cancer. As part of the grieving process, she discovered that by giving to services that helped those with cancer she could heal her heartbreak. Eight years ago when a Relay For Life event was planned for the Altadena community, Heather was invited to participate.

Heather notes, “That first year, I think I stopped by for only 20 minutes; however, I had raise close to $1000 to help in the fight. Needless to say, I was invited to return the following year.”

Unlike traditional distance fundraising events, Relay is built around community based teams. The idea is that one person from the team is on the track at all times during the event, making it a shared responsibility. As it is an event, there are a variety activities throughout the day and into the evening to celebrate survivors, remember those who we have lost and to fight back against cancer. There is an event theme and each team has a booth and is encouraged to host some sort of fundraising activity.

This year, the communities of Altadena, Pasadena and South Pasadena are coming together for the Relay For Life of Greater Pasadena. Farnsworth Park was selected because Los Angeles County Park Services sponsor the event, providing not only the park, but also canopies, a stage, tables, chairs and overall event support.

Two years ago, a good friend encouraged Heather to join Tinder. It is a dating app in which you swipe right if you like the potential match. If the other person also swipes right, you are placed in a private chat.

Giving it a try, she swiped right and connected with John D. Hamaker. However, the timing was not in their favor, as Heather was leaving on a business trip and had a packed schedule the weekend before. She had committed to being at Relay that Saturday and suggested that John might meet her there and walk the track with her to fundraise.

“We had a good connection (texting and then talking on the phone), but I wasn’t sure that he would come to the event. When I saw him at the registration table that morning – I knew this guy was a keeper. He was literally walking into an event where he knew no one and I knew everyone. We talked and walked for several hours before had to go to work. He mentioned that his Dad had passed from cancer when he was a little boy. After John left, I lit a luminaria in honor of his father,” Heather remembers.

When John proposed, Heather suggested that they consider getting married at Relay. It would be a fun way to celebrate the beginning of their life together and a great way to raise funds for cancer research, support and education. It also meant they did not have to limit their guest list. Relay is a public event and everyone is welcome.

Rather than receive unnecessary household wedding gifts, John and Heather are inviting their guest to register and participate in the event for $25.00 (tax deductible). Walking at the event is optional.

Relay for Life of Greater Pasadena will be held on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. (Opening Ceremonies), 8:00 p.m. (Luminaria) at Farnsworth Park (Lower Baseball Field), 568 Mount Curve Avenue, Altadena.

Following the Relay event structure; the Opening Ceremonies will celebrate the survivors. Holly C. Siegle, Heather’s sister, will be the survivor speaker. Holly is a five year breast cancer survivor. DJ Smash will be the MC and providing great walking tunes.

The wedding itself will start around 10:30 am, followed by lunch and wedding cake. Around 8:00 pm, the Luminaria Ceremony will take place. This is when we take some time to remember those who we have lost to cancer, but will never forget.

To join or sponsor Relay For Life of Greater Pasadena, call Ann Marie Dodge at (818) 926-2262, or visit






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