Santa Clarita Valley held its 19th annual Relay for Life at Central Park on May 20 and 21, 2017.
This year’s theme was “Give Cancer the Boot.” This is a 24-hour event held by the American Cancer Society and it raises money that goes towards cancer research, treatments and more.
The American Cancer Society’s mission is to save lives and to celebrate life.
“Relay is a team fundraising event where team members take turns walking around a track or designated path,” as explained on acsevents.org. The “team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps. Cancer patients don’t stop because they’re tired, and for one night, neither do we.”
Throughout the day there are moments to honor the survivors and the caregivers, along with games and activities for participants.
A special ceremony is put on later in the night. Luminaria is a time where those in attendance can reflect on how cancer has affected their lives, whether it be directly or indirectly.
Jackie Solano, a cancer survivor, lit the first candle and read the candle lighting poem.
Candles were lit in a pattern creating a chain reaction, and once ever candle was burning, a lap of silence was taken.
This year the SCV branch of the American Cancer Society raised approximately $350,000 as of May 22, 2017. They will continue to take donations until August 31, 2017.
“When the event itself first started, there was about a 30% survival rate at that point in time,” said Brad Peach, Event Tri-Chair. “Overall we’ve got over a 50% survival rate overall in cancers today.”
That change has been highly impacted by the money that was raised in Relay for Life.
In the 19 years Santa Clarita has been holding this event, the city has raised over seven million dollars to go towards cancer research.
“Don’t ignore the symptoms,” Peach said.
Early detection is crucial. The support and programs offered through the American Cancer Society has saved a great amount of lives.
“Know your body. Know what it looks like, know what it feels like, and if it looks or feels different, get it checked,” Peach said.
To donate to Relay for Life or volunteer with the American Cancer Society, go to http://scvrelay.com