Above, Kristin Panizera Dow, team captain for Team Hope from Soledad, smiles as she walks around the King City Relay for Life track Saturday at San Lorenzo County Park. (Photo by Hermie Robles)
KING CITY — Hundreds turned out this past weekend to show support for the sixth annual Relay for Life of King City, which has raised more than $58,000 so far in donations this year for the American Cancer Society.
“The event went off great,” said Annemarie Davis, event lead for the relay’s 2017 Event Leadership Team. “Attendance was down, but we were still here doing our thing, and we raised a nice amount of money. Everybody that attended seemed to be having a nice time.”
Davis and her husband Justin, who was the “bring the people” lead, along with Brandi Garza, experienced lead, were part of the leadership team who works year-round to help organize the local Relay.
This year there were 20 teams, 60 cancer survivors and 80 caregivers who participated in the 24-hour event, Aug. 5 to Aug. 6, at San Lorenzo County Park in King City.
“We had a lot of fun,” Garza said. “There was some good entertainment, lots of great team participation with the food that was sold, and the Luminaria Ceremony was moving as always.”
This year’s honorees were cancer survivors Yolanda Maldonado and Rhett Falsey.
Local singer Kaatia Branham Larson performed the National Anthem during Saturday’s opening ceremony, which featured the release of butterflies by local survivors and a presentation of colors by Boy Scouts Troop Pack 350.
Larson returned to sing “Ave Maria” at the evening’s Luminaria Ceremony.
“She had people in tears,” Garza said.
Although this year’s Relay raised about half as much in donations as last year’s event, Garza said money is still being counted this week and could boost the final total. Anyone who would like to donate, however, may still do so online at RelayForLife.org through Aug. 24.
“There’s still time to donate if you would like to,” Garza said.
Next year’s Relay for Life is already in the early planning stages, with the hope of expanding it to incorporate more organizations and residents from the other South County cities as well.
“We’re really going to try to get Greenfield, Soledad and Gonzales involved,” Davis said.