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Relay For Life Targets LGBTQ Community; All Welcome

Matt Vanderveer

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Relay For Life Targets LGBTQ Community; All Welcome

CREATED Aug. 2, 2013

PALM SPRINGS - The American Cancer Society held its annual Relay for Life event Friday night at the Riviera Hotel in Palm Springs but there was a twist this time around in their fight for cancer. In this relay, you won't find folks walking the streets for 24 hours. Instead, they're hitting the dance floor for 24 hours.


For Douglas Morris, cancer took his twin brother. "He had passed away,” says Morris tearfully. “I'm sorry, I haven’t talked about this . I just kissed him on the forehead and looked at him and said give 'em hell,” says Morris. For Vj Sleight, breast cancer almost took her life. "I was scared to death. I was 32 years old. I did think I was going to die,” says Sleight.


It’s the first time in ten years there has been a Relay for Life in Palm Springs. Realizing the large gay population, event planners decided a 24 hour dance-a-thon would gain more attendance than a 24 hour walk. "We wanted to get the word out to the LGBT community that we are here for you and our programs and services are too; and we're here to help you with anything you might need,” says spokesperson for the American Cancer Society Jennifer Heggie. "It's not something you want to see anyone die from. It's simply heart wrenching. I miss my brother,” says Morris.


Heggie says the message behind a non-stop dance marathon is simple. "The idea is cancer never sleeps, so why should we? So we want to be up, you know, spreading the message and fighting the fight all night long,” says Heggie.


Sleight hasn't quite hit the five year remission mark. "I'm dancing with NED--- no evidence of disease,” laughs Sleight. Though, she's hopeful cancer has danced its way out of her life for good. "I celebrate that we have made so much progress in the fight against cancer  and I have seen that progress in the 23 years in between my cancer diagnoses,” says Sleight. The event is open to the public and costs $20. It will run until 5pm Saturday night.


Click here for a link to their Facebook page for a list of all the music and DJ’s.