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Santa Clarita hosts 16th annual Relay for Life

Posted: May 17, 2014 7:04 p.m.
Updated: May 17, 2014 7:04 p.m.

Justin Peris is the pace car that leads a group of handmade cardboard cars in a parade at the Relay of Life event held at Central Park. The annual event raises money and awarenes for cancer research.

An energetic crowd turned out at Central Park Saturday to kick off the annual Relay for Life of the Santa Clarita Valley event to raise money and awareness for cancer research.

By Sunday morning, hundreds of participants in the event will have spent 24 hours walking in the park and, in doing so, taking additional steps toward the eventual goal of curing cancer.

Stacy Kupfer, one of the co-chairs of the event, said the goal for this year’s relay was to raise $500,000.

“We are the largest relay in Southern California,” Kupfer said. “We’re actually one of the largest relays in the world.”

This year marks the 16th annual American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of the Santa Clarita Valley, according to organizers.

“It’s always exciting when you see everyone get together for a cause like this,” Kupfer added.

The opening speaker at this year’s Relay for Life was Santa Clarita resident Sandra Mitchell, an anchor for KCAL 9 and CBS 2, who is herself a cancer survivor.

“When you get cancer it really changes your life, it changes your body, nothing ever feels the same,” she said. “But it also changes your attitude and it brings new meaning to your life.”

Mitchell said one of the things she was most appreciative for was the support she received after her diagnosis.

“As a survivor, I can say I never would have made it through without my friends, my family and my community,” she said.

Valencia resident Agnes Russell, a cancer survivor, is a regular participant in the relay with her team “Bosom Buddies.”

“I do this so our children and grandchildren don’t have to deal with cancer,” she said.

Russell, too, said she relied a great deal on the support of others when she was first diagnosed and sees the relay as a way to give back.

“I’m hoping they’ll get a cure for cancer,” she said when asked what her goal is for the relay. “That’s my biggest hope.”


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