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Family builds team for Roseville Relay for Life

Team No. 1 in fundraising
By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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Jerry Mayer and his wife Shirley would have been celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on April 28. Instead, Shirley Mayer will be surrounded by friends and family on that day as they walk around the track at Woodcreek High School for 24 hours in the family’s first Relay for Life event. Close to four months ago, the Mayer family of Roseville was gathered together celebrating the holiday season. Shortly after the new year, on Jan. 4, the family patriarch, Jerry Mayer, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that began in his lungs and quickly spread throughout his tissue. Three days later, Jerry Mayer passed away at the age of 68. Relay for Life began in 1985 as a way to raise money for cancer awareness, research and prevention. The 24-hour walking event has since grown, raising millions of dollars each year in cities across the nation for cancer patients and their families. This year marks the first Relay for Life event for the Mayer family, who says they were “stunned” after the sudden passing of their beloved husband and father. Shirley Mayer said the family will do everything they can to help others who have experience a similar loss. “Hopefully someday they will find a cure,” she said. “It may take awhile, but I’ll do everything I can to help have that happen.” The Mayer family haphazardly found out about Roseville’s Relay for Life through a chance encounter. Jerry Mayer’s son Dan happened to be getting coffee at a local Starbucks recently when he struck up a conversation with two local organizers for Relay for Life. “He is a salesman, so he’s always talking to somebody about something,” said Monica Mooney, Dan Mayer’s girlfriend. “He’s just a very outgoing personality that way. If he wasn’t that way, we might not have known about it at all.” Mooney quickly contacted friends and family and formed a team for the event, calling themselves Team Lion’s Pride. Mooney said her boyfriend has taken the lead in raising funds for the team. “He’s really thrown himself into this event,” she said. “He really wants to make his dad proud.” The team has since raised more than $6,000, making it the No. 1 fundraising team so far for the Roseville event. “It’s important for me to do the fundraising,” Mooney said. “It’s important to get that money for other families who are going through this.” Mooney said the relay is another way to show respect for people who have had cancer and beat it. “It’s also a time to remember our loved ones and know that they are never going to be forgotten,” she said. “We can’t bring them back, but we are able to help in their honor.” Team Lion’s Pride has garnered more than $3,000 in donated items that will be auctioned off at the April 28 event. The team will also have a booth at Roseville’s Celebrate the Earth Festival Saturday at the Martha Riley Community Library, where it plans to raise funds and raffle off a charcoal grill. Shirley Mayer has a hard time not tearing up when she talks about not being able to celebrate their 50th anniversary with her husband, but she hopes to find some kind of solace at Relay for Life. “One thing about that is I’m going to be around a lot of people,” she said. “And that will make it a lot easier, I hope.” Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT. ---------- ROSEVILLE RELAY FOR LIFE What: 24-hour relay to raise funds for the American Cancer Society When: 9 a.m. Saturday, April 28 to 9 a.m. Sunday, April 29 Where: Woodcreek High School, 2551 Woodcreek Oaks Blvd., Roseville Info: www.relayforlife.org/rosevilleca