The East Mesa Relay for Life is inviting all team members, cancer survivors, care givers and community members to help jumpstart the countdown to the 2012 event with a pep-rally Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Mesa's Fremont Junior High School.
The family-friendly, community event will include live music from local high school bands, cheerleaders from Skyline and Red Mountain high schools, giveaways, information on how to make your team more successful and other fun activities. Fremont Junior High is located at 1001 N. Power Road.
The East Mesa Relay is the largest in the Arizona/New Mexico area, said Jeff Glenn, a skin cancer survivor and the event's chair.
"It's a really community-driven event, and we've raised over $1 million in the last 10 years," Glenn said.
Raising funds for cancer has become a major focus in Glenn's life since his daughter, who was 25-years-old at the time and engaged to be married, was diagnosed with skin cancer.
"The worst words to hear besides, ‘You have cancer,' are ‘Daddy, I have cancer,' " Glenn said. "That's the worst."
The Relay for Life is part of the American Cancer Society movement that nationally fundraises and promotes cancer research and education. Half of all men and a third of all women in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.
Last year, the event raised about $125,000, down from the previous two years, which brought in $200,000 each. Glenn cited the downturn of the economy as part of the reason why money raised wasn't as high as the years before.
This year, the goal is to get back to $200,000.
It's not too late to join the East Mesa Relay for Life. To participate in the April event, or for more information, go to www.relayforlife.org/eastmesaaz. The group will also participate in the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade in downtown Mesa on Monday. There will be a booth where those interested can sign up for the relay in person.
The East Mesa Relay for Life will be held April 21 at 1 p.m. at Red Mountain High School, 7301 E. Brown Rd. in Mesa. Prior to the relay, a motorcycle ride with Superstition Harley-Davidson will end at the Relay for Life event.
The group is also planning a Golf for Life on May 5 and River Run for Life, with tubing and floating, in the summer.
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