South Pasadena, CA (PRWEB) April 10, 2010
Steve and Jamie Inzunza are looking for heroes.
More than 500,000 people die of cancer every year in the United States and an estimated 1,500,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in 2009 alone. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States and one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
The Inzunza’s, volunteer event chairs for the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) 2010 South Pasadena “Relay For Life,” need your help in saving these lives. This year’s ACS South Pasadena Relay For Life is being held April 17 – 18 at the South Pasadena High School (1401 Fremont Avenue, South Pasadena, CA 91030-3899) track/field on Diamond. Opening ceremonies begin at 9:00 am Saturday and the event continues until Sunday at 9:00 am. Visit http://www.relayforlife.org/southpasadenaca for more information.
“Events like ACS’s “Relay For Life” are helping to make great progress in the battle against cancer,” said Inzunza, who has witnessed first-hand the devastating impact of this disease. “To date, Relay For Life has raised more than $1.5 billion to help the Society accelerate the progress against cancer by saving lives, helping those touched by cancer, and empowering people to ‘fight back’ against this disease.”
“Contributions are driving heroic results in this battle. We have a ways to go but we’re turning the tide,” he added. “One thing about the San Gabriel Valley community is that we over index when it comes to contributing and caring about our society.”
In the 1930’s, when the government first started keeping cancer statistics, a cancer diagnosis was a virtual death sentence with few treatment options available. Surgery and high doses of radiation were not effective. Today, cancer is a word not a sentence. According to the ACS 2009 Facts & Figures publication: The survival rate for cancer between 1996-2004 is 66%, up from 50% for 1975-1977 and the survival rate increases for certain types of cancer are even more dramatic. The breast cancer survival rate today is 89% compared to 63% in the early 1960’s and 0% or almost 100% fatal in the 1930’s.
Why we Relay?
For Steve Inzunza the Relay and his fund-raising effort have been a very personal journey filled with hope. Like so many, he has personally witnessed the pain and suffering that cancer brings.
His mother mother died of Leukemia when he was 12 years old. “I was the oldest of four children and my youngest brother was 4 years old. I remember the days and months leading up to the day that my father came in to my room to tell me that my mother had died,” he recalled. “Before she died, my mother was having trouble walking, she vomited almost every morning, was drinking special shakes to keep her weight on, and it seemed like she had a doctor’s appointment in Pasadena every week. Ultimately, my mother was admitted to the hospital. I remember in the days that followed getting ready for school and hearing my father faintly crying behind the bedroom door. He knew his wife was dying.”
The hospital visits were happy occasions. “A hug was a bit of heaven,” he said. But after a month, the visits stopped as his mother’s pain increased requiring more potent medication.
When Christmas came she was still hospitalized, but said she wanted an ice crusher for parties at the house for her Christmas gift. “I recall overhearing my uncle say to my Aunt ‘with everything going on why does she want with an ice crusher?’ Confused, we bought it for her anyway. Thinking back I think it was a symbol. She was saying I am not giving up; I am going to fight this thing. But ultimately, cancer prevailed and my mother died a few weeks later.”
Since then, Inzunza said, he has lost many friends, family members and colleagues to the disease. He believes that with the medical advances that the American Cancer Society has funded today his mother and others would have likely survived.
But, said Inzunza, we don’t have to feel helpless in the face of a friend or family member’s cancer diagnosis. We can take action by contributing to the American Cancer Society. The ACS provides:
- A 24/7 live help and information line were people can get answers, support and counseling. 1-800-227-2345
- Rides for people undergoing cancer treatment.
- Temporary housing for friends and relatives next to facilities were people undergoing cancer treatment.
- Funding for cancer research and education on how to prevent cancer.
“The South Pasadena Relay for Life is an opportunity for all of us to make a difference in the lives of those affected by the scourge of cancer,” said Inzunza. “So let’s sprint to the finish so we can put up some numbers that will truly inspire survivors and those currently battling cancer, and demonstratively honor those that have fallen to this disease.”
More information on The Main Event – Relay For Life
This year’s ACS South Pasadena Relay For Life is being held April 17th – April 18th at the South Pasadena High School (1401 Fremont Avenue, South Pasadena, CA 91030-3899) track/field on Diamond. Opening ceremonies begin at 9:00 am Saturday and the event continues until Sunday at 9:00 am. Join your friends, family and neighbors at this year's Relay For Life 24-hour fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Nearly 40 teams have signed up to set up campsites along the track for the event, and each team is scheduling at least one member to walk the track for each hour of the 24-hour period. There will be free entertainment and food. Each team will offer educational messages about cancer prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Children can take part in the Kids' Kamp and the South Pasadena Cancer Center is making physician specialists available at its site to answer questions about cancer. At 9:00 pm, a special Luminarias ceremony will be held to honor those who have survived cancer and those who have succumbed. To sign up online: http://www.relayforlife.org/southpasadenaca. For further information contact Volunteer Event Chairs Steve/Jamie Inzunza at (310) 345-2261