Relay for Life rallies to raise $40K in fight against cancer
5/16/2012 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- More than 600 service members, families and civilians rallied to raise nearly $40,000 through the 2012 Relay for Life cancer walk at Osan Air Base, May 12-13.
This inaugural event at Osan is part of the American Cancer Society's program to raise money for cancer research, and the 24-hour walk also acts as a way to inform people of cancer's many forms and those fighting the disease.
"We are holding this event to raise awareness for cancer and those affected by it," said Airman 1st Class Jessica Souza, 51st Mission Support Group knowledge operations manager and event coordinator. "Our efforts help people stay well by providing cutting-edge treatments to those with cancer, research on new treatments, finding a cure and fighting back against the disease."
When planning began, organizers thought they'd get 150-200 participants and raise roughly $10,000, she said. Come May 14, the event far surpassed their expectations.
Special events woven into the 9 a.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday schedule provided entertainment and distractions from the monotony of rounding the inside of Osan High School's athletics stadium. Live performances, dancing, popular music, competitions and movies got the crowd - including teams like the "Mullet Mafia" - to interact.
Local cancer survivors were prominent among the relayers. During the opening ceremonies Senior Airman Steve Martin 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron, gave a speech on his battle with cancer.
"The only thing I would say to everybody, if you have someone in your life that is going through cancer is be there for them," he said. "Help them, enable them, and make them feel like their alive, because they are."
Martin was diagnosed with cancer during high school, but after months of treatment is now cancer free.
As a long-time participant already, Souza said that Relay for life was a fundraiser close to her heart and that she will continue to participate for years to come.
"I have had family members touched by cancer, and some were unable to win their battle," Souza said. "This is a way for us to do our part and fight back against the disease so we can live in a world with more birthdays."
At the end of the event several participants were recognized for outstanding performances:
- Most money raised by an individual - 1st Lt. Kathleen Lau $550
- Most money raised by a team - Logistics Readiness Squadron - $2,828.84
- Most laps completed by an individual - Staff Sgt. Paul Hendricks 280 laps
- Most laps completed by a team - Dragons 5,009 laps
For more information on Relay for Life, visit www.relayforlife.org
(No statement above implies endorsement of this private organization by the Department of Defense)