For two nights this weekend, an oval track will symbolize hope for many who never thought they would make it, and a somber memorial for those who did not.
Santa Ana College will host Relay For Life this weekend, a 24-hour fundraiser sponsored by the American Cancer Society. This year, 38 teams will gather at the track, each committing to walk it from noon Saturday until noon Sunday. Each team is asked to have at least one member on the track at all times, symbolizing how cancer never sleeps.
The number of teams has increased dramatically from last year, said Relay For Life committee member Michelle Anguiano.
“Last year we had 18 teams, and we have more than doubled that number this year,” Anguiano said.
Teams must devise their own fundraising ideas to meet the personal and team goals they set for themselves. The plans can vary greatly, but most teams rely on bake sales or other food sales during the event. Proceeds go directly to the ACS.
Since 1985, Relay For Life has raised more than $1.5 billion for cancer research, education, services and activism. In 2007, 3.5 million people nationwide participated in the relay. At SAC, Anguiano is still counting on quite a bit of money being raised.
“If each team has 10 members and they each commit to raising $100, that can really add up with 38 teams,” she said.
After the opening ceremony, cancer survivors in attendance will take their Survivor Lap to celebrate their victory over cancer. Next, several events including a mock-soapbox derby race and a Luminaria ceremony honoring those who have lost their battles will take place throughout the night.
Teams will represent the Santa Ana community, but not entirely. Anguiano noted that larger events, if officially backed by their cities, could raise millions.
“Our event is not backed by the city, which is very sad,” she said. “We have tried to get the city more involved, and [State Senator] Lou Correa came out last year, but that’s it.”
Anguiano also noted that Relay For Life in San Bernadino raised over $2 million last year, and was backed by the city.
Teams can sign up as late as Friday.