SANTA MARIA, Calif. — Final preparations are coming together to hold Relay For Life of Santa Maria next month at the Santa Maria Raceway.
The longtime event raises money for cancer research, as well as helps support local cancer patients.
“We are super excited.,” said Heidi Gavlak, American Cancer Society Associate Director, Development.” We are calling all members of our community to come out and have a wonderful time. We have a lot of fun planned. If you’ve never been to Relay for Life before, I’d kind of like to look at it as an experience that everyone deserves.”
Relay For LIfe is scheduled to be held Saturday, July 16 from 1 pm to 8 pm at the Santa Maria Raceway, also known as Stadium 805.
“This is a great event. We feel it’s very important to put on this event for the American Cancer Society and our local community,” said Raceway general manager Dave Castaneda, himself a cancer survivor. “We think the very important thing about his event is not just for the survivors, but for people who don’t have cancer today, but could have it in the future. Just because you’re cancer free today, you never know what’s going to happen, and so all the important funding for research, and support of cancer survivors and families is vital to the fight.”
Over the course of the 8-hour event, plenty of activities are lined up for participants of all ages.
“We have a DJ and games and a lot of fun planned for the day,” said Gavlak. “It’s really a day of fun and community togetherness. We’re going to have themed laps. We’re going to have a BBQ. We’re just going to have a whole lot of fun.”
Relay For Life has been a part of the Santa Maria Valley for many years, raising thousands of dollars. It’s been held at many prior locations, including St. Joseph High School, the Santa Maria Elks Event Center and the Santa Maria Fairpark.
Last year, it was held at the Raceway in October, a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which wiped out the 2020 relay entirely.
“This is super exciting,” said Lisa Bodrogi, who said she is not just a cancer survivor, but a cancer thriver. “This has been such a big event in our community over the years, so I really want to see this event and I want everybody out here enjoying themselves and enjoying what Santa Maria is all about and coming together to support one another.”
Like most, if not all who take part in Relay For Life, Bodrogi said this event is so important because everyone in the community is touched by cancer in some fashion.
“A lot of the money goes into research and development,” said Bodrogi. “American Cancer Society has contributed over $5 billion. My doctor says even 10 years ago, the amount of treatment and opportunities available to keep lives and to keep us living in Stage 4 cancer just has really grown, so this is a matter of life and death. It touches everybody’s life and it’s time. It’s time we make the effort and push over the goal line and find that cure we’re all in desire of.”
For more information about Relay For Life of Santa Maria, click here.