The 17th annual Relay For Life of Mission Viejo could meet its $170,000 fundraising goal, after the weekend event at Saddleback College raised $150,000. With online donations still being collected, the number should continue to rise.
The overnight event, designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs, drew more than 1,000 participants and 42 teams that took turns walking or running laps. With 135 people, Saturday morning’s opening “Survivor Lap” had its highest participation yet. At nightfall, hundreds of luminaries were lit in a moving ceremony to honor cancer survivors and remember those who lost their battle to the disease.
Five teams raised more than $10,000, about $8,500 more than the national team fundraising average. This year’s Mission Viejo Relay teams averaged about $4,000 raised per team, with the top fundraising team – “Team Tomodachi” – raising $22,400. Teams “Pirate Lisa” at $18,740; the City team of “Mission Impossible 2″ at $14,226; and “Foothills Church Foot Soldiers” at $10,670 followed suit as top fundraisers.
Leslyn Nitta Cicekli of Team Tomodachi raised $6,760 and claimed the top individual fundraising spot and forever bragging rights. Three City teams collectively raised more than $25,000 for the event, which has raised over $2 million since it started in 1995. The Mission Viejo Relay For Life is one of the oldest and most successful Relays in the county. For the last two years, it has been co-chaired by City Community Services Specialists Ashley Blair and Barbara Swanson.
Along with raising money for a great cause, the American Cancer Society signed up hundreds for an historic study that could change the face of cancer research for future generations. More than 189 people registered for the society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3), exceeding the organization’s expectations.
Community members can still donate to the worthy cause by visiting www.mvrelay.org.