It's not too late to sign up to walk or run in the first-ever Roanne's Race, a charity event to be held Nov. 3 in Livermore.

It's a 5k and 10k race organized by friends and family of Roanne Cairel, a 24-year-old Livermore woman who died last year from cancer.

Roanne's Race will raise money for colon cancer research and prevention. Roanne was diagnosed with the disease at age 19. At the time she was a member of the dance department at Las Positas College. Despite beating the cancer twice with treatments, the cancer spread to her ovaries and she underwent a hysterectomy in 2010. She danced at Las Positas until the week of her hysterectomy and friends say her spirit never wavered throughout her battle with cancer. She remained very active, even going sky diving with her boyfriend.

"If you'd never met her before and didn't know how sick she really was, you'd never guess because her attitude and spirit remained the same as any other young woman in her twenties," said her friend Lauren Barnard, who helped get Roanne's Race started. "Even when her body turned against her she became that much more determined to push through it and not give in. She was a warrior and reminds us that we only have this one life and we must fight for it."

Fearing that she would be forgotten when she knew time was running out, a group of close friends let her know they would start an annual run/walk event in her name to raise funds for colon cancer research.


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"When she got put into hospice care, we asked her what she wanted us to do in her name," said Erica Andracchio, who, along with Barnard, was part of a close-knit circle of friends who met Roanne in the color guard while attending Junction Avenue Middle School. "We wanted to do something to immortalize her in a sense. She came back with us about a week later with a 5k for colon cancer research. We took that and ran with it, no pun intended."

Roanne's Race was created just before Roanne passed away last Dec. 27. The dance department at Las Positas set up a scholarship in her name for students enrolled in dance classes.

Organizing a charity event for the first time has been challenging for the Roanne's friends, but they already have more than 150 participants signed up.

"After Roanne died, it was hard to move past that fact," said Andracchio. "We threw all our energy and grief into this project. We have been gaining so much community support with this. We are completely overwhelmed but in a good way."

Roanne lived in Livermore her whole life, and graduated from Granada High, where she was a member of the color guard and dance troupe. She is survived by her parents, Rodolfo and Avel Cairel, her brother Ryan, and her sisters Mary Rose, Melanie and Maylene.

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@bayareanewsgroup.com.

IF YOU GO
What: Roanne's Race
Where: Robertson Park, 3200 Robertson Park Road in Livermore
When: 8 a.m. Nov. 3
Registration: Go to Active.com
Details: Visit www.roannesrace.org. A tribute video can be found at YouTube under the title "Roanne Nothing But Smiles." Volunteers are also needed for the race to help with parking, water tables and guiding racers.
Scholarship fund: To make a donation to the scholarship fund, make checks out Las Positas College Foundation, with The Roanne Cairel Scholarship written in the memo. Send checks to Victoria Frye, 3000 Campus Hill Drive, Livermore CA 94550.