Last Saturday, South East High School of South Gate, was the site of this year’s local Relay for Life, a 24-hour walkathon and camp out that aims to raise both awareness and funds towards fighting cancer.
Participants were eager to participate in an event that tackled both the emotional and financial difficulties of cancer.
“I like how everyone gets together to raise funds,” said Teresa Gonzalez, 19, who was attending the event to show support for the struggle of her aunt, Trinidad Sanchez, who died in her fight with colon cancer in 2001, at age 42. “But also to show support and share hope.”
Relay teams kept their members walking around the track at South East High School for 24 hours, starting at 9:00 am on Saturday, to honor those who have died from cancer, and to show support for those that are currently fighting it.
There was also a Luminaria Ceremony, where participants lit candles to remember those that have passed away from cancer. Booths were also set up by local entities to inform and raise funds and educate people on cancer.
“Trini’s Dream Tent,” which was set up by family members of Sanchez to both honor her, and inform attendants with all sorts cancer literature, was one of many spaces were this difficult disease was being fought.
The booth was also the headquarters for their relay team, "Trini's Dream Team."
Sanchez started participating in Relay for Life four years ago when she was diagnosed with cancer. Her surviving family stood by her side and became aware of the importance of emotional support.
Gonzalez expressed being particularly worried by those who do not have a family to support them during this time. The many people that face cancer alone.
“It’s sad because some people don’t have any support,” Gonzalez said. ““It’s important to know you’re not alone.”
Ariana Sanchez, Trinidad’s 16-year-old daughter, has decided to carry on her mother’s legacy of care and support. The
She now not only participates in Relay for Life, but also volunteers at the Champions Run For Life, an Olympic style torch relay, for the Jonathan Jacques Children’s Cancer Center through Long Beach Memorial Hospital.
“We participate in the run with the kids, we walk or run beside them or carry them for the lap,” Sanchez said. “We gather around them and run with them.”
This year's South Gate Relay for Life raised $31,868. There were 317 participants and 26 teams. The top team was "Team Redeem," with $10,419 raised, while "Rockers For A Cure," came in second with $3,433. "Trini's Dream Team" raised $2,483 and came in third place.
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