This year’s Relay for Life means something different for one Antioch woman

Members of the Cruising for a Cure Team at this year’s Relay for Life: Melissa’s daughter Malea, mother Brenda, Aunt Vicky, Melissa and her friend Crystal at this year’s event on Sat., June 24, 2017.

By Allen Payton

The annual Relay for Life fundraiser in Antioch for the American Cancer Society was dedicated to a six-year-old boy, whose nickname is Squishy and was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer when he was just three. During the Opening Ceremonies on Saturday morning it was announced that the Antioch effort had already raised $30,000.

This is Melissa Warren’s third time at the annual 24-hour event. But this year is different, because one year ago today she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, which has spread to her bones. So she’s designated as a fighter, as well as a survivor.

Melissa’s husband Dave, Melissa and daughter Malea “cruising” around the Deer Valley High School track on Saturday, June 24th.

Her aunt Vicky Galloway has been participating in the Relay for years and started the Cruise for a Cure team. Not only do the “cruise” around the track, the effort raises money for her team by organizing an actual sea cruise every year and a half on Carnival Cruise Lines, with the help of Tammy Larsen of Almost There Travel.

Carnival pays a per cabin donation to the Antioch Relay for Life. The last cruise was a Halloween themed cruise on Oct. 30, 2016 and raised $2,430 for Vicky’s team, for this year’s relay.

“The money that’s raised here goes toward helping people in Antioch,” Vicky explained.

Her team’s effort isn’t benefiting Melissa’s battle, directly. But Melissa said “when I first found out I have breast cancer I received a check to help with rent from the American Cancer Society. So, it’s all connected.”

Melissa’s treatment for her cancer has included targeted radiation to her right femur, and just last month a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, at the same time. Melissa said she spent a week in the hospital and is still recovering. She is to have bimonthly scans to check and see if the cancer appears in any other area.

Joining Vicky and Melissa on Saturday were Melissa’s mom, Brenda Adams, and her daughter Malea and friend Crystal and other friends and family. They along with the other teams will be walking on the track until 10 am Sunday morning at the Deer Valley High School football stadium.

If you would like to attend Vicky and Melissa’s cruise to benefit next year’s Relay for Life, the next one is planned for May, 2018. The cruise will be in the Mexican Riviera for seven nights for as little as $677.25 per person. Call Almost There Travel at 925-238-0001 or stop by their office at 506 W. 2nd Street in Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown.

Let’s pray for the complete healing for Melissa and other cancer fighters in Antioch.

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Relay for Life Melissa W & family


Cruising Relay Team members


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