Peter and Sylvia Garduo had a reason to keep walking around the Highlands University track over the weekend.
They were honoring Stephanie Griego, who has been diagnosed with cancer. They were among the many taking part in the eighth annual Relay for Life event, which was held at Perkins Stadium.
Sylvia said her mother and father both died of cancer, and the couple said they have also lost other beloved relatives to the disease. She and her husband said they hope a cure will be found one day soon.
Relay For Life was held Friday evening through Saturday morning with a large crowd celebrating the lives of those who have battled cancer and remembering loved ones who lost their lives to the disease.
Valerie New, an event organizer, said, “We’ve been relaying here in Las Vegas for about eight years, and every year, it gets bigger and better. Thanks to the community, it continues on, so we’re excited to keep fighting cancer here in San Miguel County.”
New said every dollar raised benefits the Las Vegas community, but new treatments or cures found for different types of cancer benefits everyone around the world.
The American Cancer Society says one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. The funds raised at the relay save lives by funding cutting-edge research, early detection and prevention education, advocacy efforts and life-affirming patient services.
New said last year the local relay raised almost $27,000 and this year, the event took in $13,500.
“There’s room for improvement, but I want to thank the community, sponsors and teams who came out to support the American Cancer Society’s signature event.”
Jennie Mae Ortiz, a Relay For Life board member, said things began with an opening prayer and a survivors’ lap around the Highlands track, followed by a team lap.
Ortiz said teams of people were camping out at Perkins Stadium and taking turns walking or running around the track. She said each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event.
Ortiz said the reason for the overnight event is that cancer never sleeps.