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Relay for Life surpasses fundraising goal in inaugural event in San Luis
SAN LUIS, Ariz. – In its inaugural year in the battle against cancer, the Relay for Life walk here met its fundraising goal, and then some.
Organizers had set a goal of raising $20,000 from the event that will benefit the American Cancer Society. But by the time 12-hour relay walk at Joe Orduno Park had concluded, they had brought in $21,000 from food sales at the event and entry fees for relay teams that participated in the walk.
Organizers still had money to count from other activities associated with the relay and were hoping to reach $25,000 in proceeds by the time all money was counted.
Hundreds of people gathered Friday evening at the park for the walk, which was modeled after the walk that the American Cancer Society has staged in Yuma for many years to raise funds for cancer victims and for research into cures for the disease.
“We've been getting a lot of good comments from organizers of the Relay for Life event in Yuma,” said Helia Martinez, coordinator of the San Luis walk. “They are telling us they are seeing very good results. We feel that for this being the first year, the results have been very good. But we can raise even more” in the coming years.
At 6 p.m. Friday, the National Anthem was sung and hundreds of white balloons were launched in memory of cancer victims, making San Luis the second city in Yuma County after Yuma to host a Relay for Life event.
A group of cancer survivors, all dressed in purple Relay for Life T-shirts, began walking the perimeter of the park's football field, along a course lined with hundreds of candles set up in honor of those who both survived and succumbed to cancer. Accompanying them were student musicians who are members of the Gadsden Elementary School District's marching band.
Following them were 22 teams made up of a total of about 400 people who walked in shifts around the course.
“It is very important that we be part of this event,” said San Luis Mayor Gerardo Sanchez, who attended the kickoff of the relay with the city's vice mayor, Marco Pinzon. “According to the statistics, this year about 120 San Luis residents are going to be diagnosed with cancer and about 30 will die from the disease. Through this event, we are showing that they are not alone, that we are with them.”