The following is an edited release from the American Cancer Society:
Second-generation Malibu resident Destiné Thie, her sister-in-law Angela Harris and their family will take their fight against cancer to the beach June 4 at the American Cancer Society’s inaugural Malibu Relay For Life. Their battle is personal and very real. Harris, 30, has been fighting a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer since last spring.
Harris will be among the cancer patients and survivors opening the event in the survivors’ lap around the sandy track at Sycamore Cove beach. Then she, members of Thie’s team “Fish out of Water” and about 250 other participants will take turns walking around the track relay-style for the next 24 hours—a reminder that cancer is a 24-hour disease.
Relay For Life team members gather pledges of $100 or more, then pitch their tents inside the track. They also enjoy food, contests, live music, entertainment and other activities from the stage. At dusk, volunteers will line the track with luminary bags decorated in memory of those lost to cancer or in honor of those still fighting the disease as the nearby surf crashes in tribute.
Thie first walked in the Ventura Relay For Life in 2008 in memory of her “papa,” John Thie, a longtime Malibu resident and founder of Touch For Health. He died three years earlier from prostate cancer. Last year, Thie captained a team at the Woodland Hills Relay at Pierce College, where she is a student. Thie is raising the bar in 2011 as a team captain and committee member for the Woodland Hills event in April and as a team captain, accounting chair and registration chair—as well as helping with sponsorships—for the Malibu event.
John Thie’s death was a blow to his family, to West Malibu, the international Touch For Health community and . When cancer struck the Thie family again in July, they were stunned.
Harris, then 29, and fiancé Tim Thie—Malibu residents who both work for Channel Islands National Park—flew into action after getting the news. Eleven days after her diagnosis, the couple climbed aboard a helicopter, and took their marriage vows over Las Vegas. Eleven days later, Harris underwent surgery, and on Aug. 23 began 23 weeks of chemotherapy to vanquish the cancer that had spread to her bones and lung. She maintains normal living as much as possible, and looks forward to walking in the Relay For Life survivors lap.
“Raising awareness is so important,” Harris said. “A lot of cancer patients don’t have the support I do. People need to know about the American Cancer Society’s free support programs for patients and their families.”
She continued, “It’s really great to see a lot of people come out and support the cause. It’s nice that Relay For Life doesn’t focus on just one cancer; they include all cancer patients and survivors.”
Her sister-in-law added, “Relay For Life gives me the opportunity to help fight cancer that has not only touched my life, but the lives of so many others. Plus, it’s a blast to stay the whole 24 hours, and fun to walk the 2 a.m. shift under the stars.”
Thie is the top fundraiser for the event, with online chair Donna Armstrong close behind. Seniors Rachel Kraft and Madeleine Rotman head up youth efforts at .
An informational meeting for interested team captains will take place at 7 p.m. March 23 at the library. To learn more about the Malibu Relay For Life, to form a team, donate or sponsor the event, go to relayforlife.org/malibuca or call Daniela Barrigan at 818-314-9246.