Reality Rally offers up fun for the entire family

By the time you get around to reading this, Reality Rally 2017 will be in full swing, but it’s not too late to join in the fun and raise funds for Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center while meeting some of reality television’s biggest names.

Now in its seventh year, Reality Rally takes place April 6-8 with great activities such as The Reality Race through Old Town Temecula, a Celebrity Chef Cook-off and even a Reality Rally Festival full of fun and games for the entire family.

In last week’s Valley News, we highlighted the event, which is run by former “Survivor Gabon” contestant Gillian Larson, who decided to use her “15 minutes of fame” to assist Michelle’s Place in fundraising so they can continue to provide services to those who suffer from breast cancer. The story can be read online at and features the full schedule of events for this weekend’s activities.

“I love Temecula; it’s an amazing town, and I wanted to be able to do something for a charity in Temecula,” Larson said. “I also love Michelle’s Place; I read about their story and what they do for people in this area and beyond, and it suddenly came to me that I could use my mini celebrity … I could do something in Temecula raising money for Michelle’s Place.”

For Larson, it’s all about creating opportunities for both Michelle’s Place and those with a passion for reality television.

“This is an opportunity for all those people who love reality television,” Larson said. “People can ask ‘what was it like to be on “Naked and Afraid,” “Survivor” or “The Amazing Race.”’ People can come to talk to them. That’s why they are here, to talk to the public while raising money for Michelle’s Place. It’s amazing.”

So, what do I like best about Reality Rally? Well it’s simple, really. Like Larson said, it gives fans like me the opportunity to come out and meet some of the stars, while doing something worthwhile for others, who also like me, are suffering or who have suffered from the life-changing disease, breast cancer.

This year I had the pleasure of interviewing two reality stars from “Survivor Millennials vs. Gen. X,” Sunday Burquest and season winner Adam Klein. Both reality stars were open with me regarding their own personal experience with cancer. Burquest is a breast cancer survivor, and Klein lost his mother to lung cancer shortly after returning home from his “Survivor” experience.

Reality Rally is important to Burquest, given her own recent experience with breast cancer. She said she’s thrilled to have the opportunity to support Michelle’s Place and give back to women facing this terrible disease.

“I want to be encouraging to women of all kinds, those fighting breast cancer and even those who aren’t,” Burquest told me back in February. “My experience has given me a passion to help other women and families dealing with this disease. Breast cancer is awful to fight; the only thing worse is trying to fight it alone. Having the emotional and financial support of others is critical to the recovery process. This is why I am so excited to participate in this years’ Reality Rally supporting Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center.”

Klein’s reaction to participating was much the same as Burquest’s. In a March interview, he shared with me how it affected him to lose his mother to lung cancer and how participating in Reality Rally is helping him to channel his grief and his 15 minutes of fame into something positive.

“Doing things like the Reality Rally help me to focus on something that is meaningful while also honoring my mom’s legacy and inspiring others to live the way she always did, which was so full of life, so full of energy, always smiling, laughing, dancing and loving,” he said.

Klein had words of praise for Larson and how she used what she calls her “15 minutes of fame” to help others.

“The way she approached her time on ‘Survivor’ is inspiring to me because it is how I would like to leverage whatever fleeting visibility I have from all of this to do something really meaningful and change people’s lives,” he said. “That’s why I dedicated that time and still am to raising money for lung cancer research in particular but also for Reality Rally and Michelle’s Place.”

After participating in the Reality Rally “Amazing Race” style event in Old Town, both Klein and Burquest, along with 79 other reality stars, will be at Saturday afternoon’s Reality Rally Festival to sign autographs, talk about their experiences and meet their fans.

I encourage everyone to come out and join Valley News, Gillian Larson and all the reality stars for a day of fundraising fun!

For a full schedule of events, visit To read both Burquest’s and Klein’s stories as well as meet the rest of the Reality Rally contestants, visit and search for Reality Rally.

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