News: Fort Bliss and El Paso march against cancer
Story by Sgt. Edward Garibay
FORT BLISS, Texas – The Fort Bliss and El Paso communities joined together in the fight against cancer by participating in a Relay For Life event, at Captain John L. Chapin High School, here, May 17.
Teams from more than 50 organizations circled the track surrounding the football field for 12 hours and sold merchandise and baked goods to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
It was just one of many efforts during an annual El Paso campaign to raise $100,000 for cancer research.
So far, $30,000 has been raised and future events are planned such as the Bark For Life, which is a similar relay event with dogs, and the Color Run, a 3-kilometer race where runners are covered with paint as they go.
“It feels good to know all these people are involved,” said Master Sgt. Robert K. Gonzalez, a Sergeant Audie Murphy Club member from 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.
Not only did the relay serve as a fundraiser, but it also helped raise cancer awareness by promoting the theme “Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back.”
Participants and cancer survivors celebrated everything they had overcome and started off the evening with a survivors lap at 7 p.m., which allowed those who had won the fight against cancer to join together and circle the field as the crowd cheered.
As night fell, after a few hours of laps, participants lined the track with lit candles inside paper bags to remember those who have passed away and those who are still battling the disease.
Finally, to conclude the event, participants took one final lap at 7 a.m. and pledged to fight back against cancer and continue to spread awareness.
“The entire relay really represents the journey of someone diagnosed with cancer,” said Allison Lamb, the Relay For Life event chairperson here and a cancer survivor. “The beginning is like when we’re diagnosed with cancer, but then as it hits those dark hours of one or two in the morning it really becomes tough and it represents those really low points of cancer. Then as the sun rises it represents going into remission.”
While there are many ways to describe the Relay For Life, ultimately, the overall theme is simple.
“You can survive cancer,” said Lupe Sanchez, a 16-year cancer survivor. “Have faith and hope – don’t give up.”
For more information, visit www.relayforlife.org.