Local Relay For Life Co-Chairs Share Excitement

Los Alamos Relay for Life co-chairs Rachal Allen, left, and Tonya Sprouse-Mullins sell luminaria bags Sunday afternoon at Smith’s Marketplace. They are recruiting volunteers, teams and sponsors for the Sept. 30 event. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com


Los Alamos Daily Post

Rachal Allen, a patient access representative at Los Alamos Medical Center, and Tonya Sprouse-Mullins, a medical assistant at Bridge Care for Women, are the co-chairs for this year’s American Cancer Society Los Alamos Relay for Life.

The two women have jumped into the project with both feet and are already lining up sponsors, teams and events for the Sept. 30 Relay.

“Last year, when Mary Beth Maassen decided it was time to hand over the Relay for Life leadership duties, she asked me if I would like to take over. I was honored and accepted without hesitation,” Allen said.

As part of the change in leadership, she was attended the Great West Division Southern Territory Relay for Life Summit 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“I was told I could bring one person with me that I felt would benefit from attending. I thought about it for quite some time and Tonya’s name kept popping into my head. I knew she would be the perfect partner to lead this year’s Los Alamos Relay,” Allen said. “We are both very passionate about giving back to our community and committed to making the event a success.”

Allen says she relays for everyone including friends and family members that are currently battling cancer, her aunt who lost the battle and for every person whose life has been affected by cancer in one way or another. Working at LAMC, she said that she has had the opportunity to meet many different people who either have experienced or are currently experiencing the effects of cancer in one way or another, from  going through testing to find out if they have cancer to having just being diagnosed or just finished their last treatment. 

“It has allowed me to see the effects first hand.  Ever since I was a little, it has been a goal of mine to make a difference and to enhance the lives of those around me.  Relay allows me to achieve that goal every single day,”  Allen said.

Tonya Sprouse-Mullins has been participating in Relay for Life on and off for many years. She started out as a participant and then decided to become a team captain.

“I was absolutely honored when Rachal asked me to help her plan this year’s event. She and I together have so many ideas and we are trying some things that have never been done before,” she said. “I know all our hard work is going to pay off and this year’s Los Alamos Relay for Life is going to be an unforgettable experience.”

Sprouse-Mullins says when she was young, her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I saw her go through treatments and before I knew it, the cancer took her away,” she said. “I didn’t understand the word cancer and I certainly didn’t understand why someone I loved had to go through so much and be taken from those who loved her. I knew from that moment on that I never wanted to forget her and I promised myself to always honor her.”

Sprouse-Mullins said that over the years she has “relayed” for many people and sad to say the list just keeps getting longer.

“Relay for Life is very near and dear to my heart and I will never stop remembering those we have lost and fighting for those who continue their courageous batter with cancer,” she said.

Allen and Sprouse-Mullins are still recruiting volunteers to assist with the event. They have all kinds of work available ranging from just a couple of hours to helping run an individual event. Volunteers can give as much or as little time as they would like.

There will be a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the downstairs conference room at Los Alamos Medical Center near the cafeteria entrance.

For more information, call Rachal Allen at 505.709.8618 or Tonya Sprouse-Mullins at 505.629.7817 or email relayforlifelosalamos2017@gmail.com.


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