Relay for Life coming in April

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun

For Joseph Marroquin, it was just a matter of payback.

When Marroquin’s wife Marcella was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, he saw the American Cancer Society helped his family with the ordeal.

“I see the work the cancer society has done for us,” Marroquin said. “The research that they do, it’s impressed me. I’m willing to help them out.”

He’s helping them out by being the chair for the Relay for Life, an annual fund-raising event for the American Cancer Society. Funds go toward cancer research.

The Tucumcari Relay for Life is to start at 6 p.m. on April 21 and run through 10 a.m. on April 22. The event will be held at Tucumcari High School.

Though it is known as a fund-raising event, the Relay for Life is also a way to celebrate those who have survived cancer and honor those who have died.

Those who survived cancer are recognized when they take a survivor lap on the track, and luminarias (candles in small paper bags with personalized messages) are used to remember those who’ve passed.

Luminarias are available from the Marroquins and others throughout the city.

To participate, a team must have at least five people, with each person paying a $10 entry fee. So far, Marroquin said, there are 11 teams. He’d like to have 25 teams by the application deadline of April 7.

The fund-raising goal is $27,000, Marroquin said. Marroquin said the goal is possible with support from local businesses, and several businesses have already donated materials and office space for the event.

Abby Cruz, a community relations director for the American Cancer Society, said the point is to think of the $10 fee as an official start to fund-raising, and that teams should try to think of as many ways as possible to raise money before and during the event.

Some groups offer games or raffles during the events, while others bring drinks and snacks for sale, with proceeds going to fund-raising efforts.

“There are national standards for the American Cancer Society,” Cruz said, “but there are many ways for a community to have its own flavor.”

Marroquin said he is aiming to make the Relay for Life a family event, because usually cancer affects an entire family. He said he’s lined up some entertainment, but is open to any volunteers.

“We’ve got DJs already,” Marroquin said. “We’ve got different types of games. If anybody is interested in some type of entertainment or fund-raising, contact us.”

Marroquin can be contacted at home (461-6289) or by cell phone (403-5034). For information online, visit www.cancer.org.