Salinas celebrates 20 years of Relay For Life

Salinas celebrates 20 years of Relay...

SALINAS, Calif. - UPDATED 5/19/2017 10:30 p.m.: It's an annual event that raises millions of dollars for the American Cancer Society.

This year's theme was "Cheer for 20 Years" in honor of the event's 20th anniversary in Salinas.

The Salinas relay has raised $13.5 million since it started. This year they hope to raise even more.

"This year our goal is $650,000" said Kathy Huggins, one of the lead volunteers.

Before the event even began, Relay for Life of Salinas was halfway towards reaching that goal. Hundreds came out for the event's 20th anniversary at the Salinas Sports Complex including Mayor Joe Gunter.

The mayor says events like Relay for Life show what Salinas residents can do when they come together.

"Think about this city, the people who live here. They understand there's a need and they're out taking care of it," Gunter said. "They are working to find a cure and they're working with each other."

From survivors to caregivers and those just showing their support, all who participated in Salinas Relay for Life helped make it one of the top in the nation.

"Salinas Relay for Life is ranked number 2 in the state of California and number 4 in the nation of over 4500 events nationwide," said Huggins. "Our fundraising efforts got us number 4.

Efforts survivors like Alicia Garcia and her daughter Suzie are grateful for. Alicia battled stage 3 breast cancer and has been in remission since 2009.

Though she's an Aromas resident, Relay for Life of Salinas has become an annual destination for Mother and Daughter.

"This is the Relay for Life I love the best," Garcia said. "Salinas is the best for me."

She says coming to the event helps her spread an important message to those battling cancer now.

"Stay strong, be positive. Don't give up, there is hope," Garcia says.

Survivors like Alicia are who volunteer lead Kathy Huggins says everyone at the event is fighting for.

"This is why we relay, because we want more survivors," Huggins says. "Cancer doesn't sleep and that's why we're not going to sleep tonight either."

You can donate to Relay for Life of Salinas through the end of August by clicking here.


PREVIOUS STORY: The American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Salinas is celebrating their 20th relay this weekend at the Salinas Sports Complex.

The local event is the 2nd largest Relay in California, and raised more than $630,000 in 2016. The event will include music, and numerous fun activities to help raise money for the American Cancer Society.

The two day event with start Friday, at 6 p.m. with opening ceremonies and a survivor lap followed by a caregiver lap to honor those who fought cancer.  The track will be lit up for the Luminaria Ceremony at 9:30 p.m.

Event leader, Mirna Hills said “It is such an emotional part of the relay as you can see all those who’ve been affected by cancer in some way. Our track is lit up by the luminaria and it’s quite in remembrance.” “We have a great line up of bands like the Monterey Bay Sound Machine, and fun activities like a lip-sync battle, the Undie 500, and Zumba, to keep everyone going throughout the event,” said Hills.

“We really want to become the biggest relay in California and think our 20th year we might be able to do it,” states Kathy Huggins, Event Lead. “With over $13.5 million raised since the first relay this community has come together for a common goal to beat cancer.”

Closing ceremonies will be held at noon on Saturday.

KION 5, 46 Meteorologist Jason Atcho has the forecast for the event


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