Moorpark Fundraiser to Fight Back Against Cancer Returns as ‘Relay in the Park’ with “Survivors are Superheroes” Theme

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Kicking off at 9 a.m. on Sat., April 27, Relay in the Park is the official fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

Cancer Survivors are Superheroes

We Relay because cancer never sleeps

Back for those who have lost a friend or loved one, or those currently fighting or having survived the fight with cancer, is Moorpark’s Relay for Life—this year entitled “Relay In the Park.”

This year’s 24-hour event takes place at a new venue—Moorpark’s Arroyo Vista Park, immediately adjacent to Moorpark High School on Tierra Rejada Road.

This year, the theme is “Survivors are Superheroes.” Anyone who wants to dress as a superhero to run the initial Survivor’s Lap at the tip of the event is encouraged to do so to make the event more fun for families and their kids. Cancer Survivors will receive a special Purple S for their chest, reminiscent of Superman’s costume.

Kicking off at 9 a.m. on Sat., April 27, Relay in the Park is the official fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Participants raise money by walking laps, each lap garnering donations from local businesses, friends and family. Teams of 8 to 15 members gather with tents and sleeping bags to camp out at the park, taking turns walking or running around a set track. “Because cancer never sleeps,” Relays are over-night events and each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times.

Relay for Life is an inspirational event that looks to empower individuals and communities affected by cancer--to bring people together to fight back against a disease that takes too much. The Relay event celebrates cancer survivors with a “Survivors Tent,” an oasis for those who have kicked cancer, or might be currently battling cancer can enjoy massage and some pampering. This area is overseen by local cancer volunteer and survivor Kam Holland. After some serious “fussing over,” survivors are invited to participate in a “Survivor’s Lap” which is the very first lap around the track.

Another inspirational part of Relay is the lighting of the Luminaria. A Luminaria is a small bag filled with sand, containing a candle to make it glow. As the sun sets, volunteers light all the candles along the track. These bags, some decorated with names or photos honoring people who have been lost or affected by the disease, burn on into the evening, “lighting a path of hope.” The event offers live bands, on-going entertainment and a children’s play area. The Relay ends with an upbeat “fight back” ceremony, to remind attendees that they have the power to change the course of cancer.

An excellent example of that credo is one of this year’s Relay in the Park guest speaker and honoree, Austin Munoz. He will speak on the theme of “Never give up.”

Munoz, celebrating just turning 18-years-old, has recently been informed by his doctors that he is in remission of his rare form of cancer. Over the past year, the Moorpark community and beyond have rallied to help cover the expenses of his treatment, with a broad list of local businesses holding fundraising events to give a portion of their profits to cover Munoz’s medical costs.

"Humor and staying positive is what kept us going,” said Austin’s mom Julie Miller.

Austin, previously a Moorpark High School football athlete, lost 65 pounds over the course of his cancer experience. He is now on a “careful” road to recovery.

For more information about Relay In the Park – Relay for Life, go to http://www.moorparkrelay.org.

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Doug Ridley
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