Friends and relatives of will honor the late teen at this year’s Relay for Life cancer awareness event with a special team in her memory.
James Logan High School principal Amy McNamara created “Team Zoe” in honor of the popular Union City teen, who passed away July 5 from a rare form of bone cancer just days after .
“Zoe was an amazing student; a great athlete, so loved by her peers and classmates,” McNamara said. “I attended her birthday celebration and could not believe the amount of love and community support that was present. It made me realize even more what a great and loving family she had and what she meant to her community and Logan.”
Relay for Life, a 24-hour walk/run benefit for the American Cancer Society, will be held Aug. 25 and 26 at the high school. At least one person from each team must remain on the track at all times for the duration of the event.
McNamara is searching for team members who can commit to raising $100 each and walk at least an hour during the relay. Though there is a 14 person limit on team size, anyone is welcome to make a donation and walk an hour in Zoe’s honor, McNamara said. Those who can’t participate in the event can also donate items for a fundraiser raffle.
Relay for Life is a special event for McNamara, who has participated in the event for the last several years in San Leandro, where she lives, in honor of her father, who passed away from brain cancer in 2001. Her sister is also a breast cancer survivor.
“Having people I love fight the disease was inspiration for me to initially get involved,” McNamara said. “When I see the luminarias lit on that Saturday night, I just feel so inspired to devote my attention and time to this cause.”
Luminarias are paper bag lanterns that are sold for donations. Participants write notes or draw pictures for their loved ones on the bags. When the sun goes down the luminarias are lit and lined up along the track.
The luminaria ceremony will be held just after sunset on Aug. 25, McNamara said. Photos of survivors will be shown during the ceremony, including a special slideshow tribute for Zoe.
McNamara worked closely with Zoe’s family in organizing the memorial team.
“We thought having a Team Zoe would be a good venue for her friends to be able to do something to help honor her memory and, at the same time, help fulfill her wish of giving back,” said , Zoe’s mother and a cancer survivor herself.
Family members will participate on the team and Maria hopes that many of Zoe’s classmates and community members will get involved as well.
“I think it will be good for Zoe’s classmates,” Maria said. “It’s one of those things for teenagers coming back to school and not being able to cope with the grief. The Relay for Life event will be one way to express their grief and at the same time come out of it feeling good knowing that they’ve paid it forward.”
For more information about Relay for Life, to join the team or to make a donation, visit the Union City Relay for Life website at http://tinyurl.com/UCRelay2012.
To stay up to date about events in Zoe’s honor, “like” her Facebook memorial page.