SCV hosts their annual Relay for Life Event


Anika Sachdeva and Julia Kremenetsky

   On Oct. 2, 2021 residents from the Santa Clarita Valley worked together to host the 23rd annual Relay For Life. This event was a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society (ACS).

   The walk was originally planned to take place on top of the Macy’s parking lot. However, in order to follow COVID-19 regulations, the location of the event was moved at the last minute to the old Sears parking lot off of Citrus Ave. and Valencia Blvd from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

   This year’s theme was “No Space for Cancer.” Relay for Life used the Star Wars-inspired theme as an exciting way to show their support for those fighting against cancer, their families, and supporters. The event hired multiple Star Wars costume characters such as Yoda, storm troopers, and more.

   There was a large turnout of West Ranch students participating in the walk, while others volunteered as part of different programs and clubs. Some organizations at the event were National Honors Society (NHS), Key Club, and Wildcats Against Cancer, a cancer awareness and fundraising club on campus. 

   Volunteers were assigned to different tasks and booths. West Ranch sophomore Alyssa Nott said, “I volunteered at the Relay for Life store booth as a part of NHS. We sold pins, bracelets, necklaces, and a lot of other cool cancer-related items.”

   This event is important for many reasons. West Ranch sophomore Jadyn Tunnell expressed. “One, it spreads awareness about different types of cancer, two it raises money to help those affected by cancer, and lastly, it is a bunch of fun to go out there with your friends.”

   This year’s fundraising goal was to raise $225,000. Although it was not met this year, participants still raised a marvelous $148,594.

   The volunteering team leader of PEACE, LOVE, and CURE Yvonne Salas said. “The outcome of this SCV Relay For Life event was very successful.  Any time that the Community comes together to raise money in the fight against cancer is always successful! “

   The event started with an opening ceremony and ended with a luminaria commemoration, where participants walked a lap around the Westfield Mall. The luminaries are a big part of the event, as they honor those who battled cancer and continue to fight it. At the event, the decorated luminary bags are lined up with tea candles inside the bag. 

   Throughout the relay, there was live entertainment, games, raffle drawings and food trucks. Between these events, there were also a number of entertaining performances from the Saugus High School Choir, New World Dance, Innovation Show Choir and more.

   Some participants and organizers had already donated money prior to the event. The Relay had up to 53 registered teams contributing to the fundraiser. Each team consisted of about 100 volunteers, all committed to raising as many donations as they could.

   This event impacts many lives and honors those who aren’t here today. “The entire event is special! The honoring of our survivors, with a special lap, with the survivors walking together, in unity and strength/courage is a very meaningful part of our event,” Salas explained. “Another special part of our event is the quiet lap where we all walk together, in the evening.  We honor and remember everyone who has been touched by cancer!”

   Relay for Life is sponsored by UCLA Health, Henry Mayo Hospital, Boston Scientific and additional partners. 

   COVID-19 safety protocols were also of great importance at the event. For example, ACS encouraged participants to maintain a safe distance from others and wear masks.

   The money raised not only helps cancer patients and their families today, but contributes to funding the future of cancer research and support.

   Nott concluded, “I’m motivated to help those with cancer because they inspire me with their perseverance and strength. I also enjoy how unified their community is.” 

   Others like Salas were motivated personally. “I got involved with the SCV Relay For Life in 2013, when my 21 month old grand-nephew was battling Leukemia. That precious baby fought a very hard battle, and sadly he did lose his battle with Cancer.” Salas said, “I realize the importance of events like Relay For Life. All the fundraising goes to cancer research. We, as a society, have come a long way in the fight against cancer, through cancer research.”

   SCV proved to be a united force with a common goal in mind: to support each other in the fight against cancer. Cats, if you are interested in helping out in the cause, check out Wildcats Against Cancer on campus!