The 16th annual Santa Clarita Valley Relay for Life began Saturday at Central Park with the goal of raising money for the American Cancer Society.
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The event will take a place over a 24 hour period, ending Sunday morning at 9 am.
Stacy Kupfer, Santa Clarita Valley Relay For Life event co-chair, said the ceremonies at the event are all based off of the central motto of celebration, remembrance and fighting back.
“We have 3 main ceremonies,”Kupfer said. “The opening ceremony is our celebration ceremony because we celebrate our [cancer] survivors, the ones in the purple shirts. At 9 o’clock [Saturday] is our Luminaria Ceremony, so thats the remembering part.[Sunday] morning, we finish off with a fighting-back ceremony in which we re-commit ourselves to fighting back throughout the following year.”
During the Luminaria Ceremony, small bags inscribed with the names of loved one’s lost to cancer, as well as cancer survivors, are illuminated with candles and light the way forward for attendees walking the Relay For Life track.
Kupfer said the annual Relay For Life event helps provide the American Cancer Society with the money needed to provide free services throughout the year.
“The money goes directly to the American Cancer Society,” Kupfer said. “Relay for Life’s globally raise about 350 million dollars per year, which is half of the ACS budget. Our relay, over the 16 years, has raised about 6 million dollars. We’re the largest relay in Southern California and the 26th largest in the world out of 5,200 events.”
This year’s event was expected to attract about 4,000 total visitors over the 24 hour period, Kupfer said.
The fundraising goal for this year’s Relay For Life was set at 500,000 dollars. Before the start the event on Saturday, this year’s Relay For Life had already raised 260,000 dollars towards its goal, Kupfer said.
“We are 100,000 dollars ahead of where we were last year coming into the event today,”Kupfer said. “So i do expect a little bit higher participation and a little more money because we started off really strong.”
More than 170 booths were set up at the event, and sponsors shared information with attendees about a wide range of subjects, including ways to prevent and detect cancer.
For more information about the Santa Clarita Valley Relay For Life, visit their website here.
To learn more about the American Cancer Society, click here.
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Source: Santa Clarita News