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Rotarians walk for cancer cure

Spearheaded by the Arcadia Rotary Club‘s Tony Parrille, Eric Barter and Mike Ojeda, Rotary members joined hundreds of others in the Arcadia community in raising more than $100,000 towards the fight against cancer at the American Cancer Society‘s 24-Hour Relay for Life held June 26-27 at Santa Anita Racetrack. – – – – – – — – – – – – – – – – – – – by Anne Donofrio-Holter – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Relay for Life “brings together more than three million people each year to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and empower individuals and communities to fight back against the disease.” In addition to raising awareness, the event is also an opportunity for people from all walks of life to raise funds for research.

Calling the Relay a positive event of hope, Parrille said the disease has touched everyone’s life in some way and club members were honored to be there to support the survivors as well as remember those we have lost. As evening fell, glowing bags called luminaria lit the infield footpath, each one representing a life that has battled cancer. Throughout the 24-hour period, volunteers continued to walk, lend support for each other, enjoy karaoke and visit the various exhibits including an Arcadia Rotary Club sponsored ShelterBox, part of a disaster relief program sponsored by Rotarians in six countries. “ShelterBoxes provide temporary shelter during disasters such as earthquakes or floods and can house up to ten people,” said Barter. “They include comforts such as thermal blankets and other lifesaving equipment depending on the nature of the disaster.”

Volunteers greeted the dawn of Sunday morning with a feeling of satisfaction. “I’m a bit tired, but so proud of what we have accomplished here,” said one volunteer. “The American Cancer Society set an event goal for Arcadia of $80,000 and I am proud to say that we not only beat that goal but shattered it by raising $103,800 with donations still coming in,” said Carter Spruill, American Cancer Society event chairman. “I think that is an incredible number and I want to thank all of you for making that possible. This event means a lot to me and by the amount of money we raised, I would say that it means a lot to all of you as well.”

Rotarians donated $500 out of the club’s community service budget along with an additional $1,000 in member contributions. “The Arcadia Rotary Club was proud to support this great cause,” said Ojeda.  “We want to thank our members for their participation and the Arcadia High School Interact Club for helping us out.” First held in 1985, almost 5,000 communities in the United States have played host to the event which to date, has raised more than $2 billion in the fight against cancer.

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