‘Give Cancer the Boot’; Annual Relay for Life of Hilo slated for July 20

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald file photo Geneva Pereira and Stacy Ortiz of Team Ortiz wave metallic ribbons as they walk to end breast cancer during the 2018 Relay For Life of Hilo.

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald file photo The 2018 Relay For Life of Hilo kicks off with a survivors and caregivers lap at Francis Wong Stadium in Hilo.

On Saturday, July 20, Big Island participants will join together during the 27th annual Relay For Life of Hilo to “Give Cancer the Boot” at Francis Wong Stadium and help beat cancer.

The event starts at 4 p.m. and runs until midnight.


“In Hawaii, more than 7,100 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2019, and more than 2,500 people are expected to die from the disease,” said Sarah Luchenbill, community development manager for the American Cancer Society in Hilo. “But, we have a way to make a difference. Relay For Life of Hilo is a community event that celebrates cancer survivors, remembers those we lost to cancer and raises funds for cancer research and services in our local community to attack cancer from every angle.”

The American Cancer Society is the only organization fighting cancer on every front:

• In 2018, the society’s community of 5,600 volunteers in Hawaii provided 6,500 rides to treatment for local cancer patients through the Road To Recovery program.

• In 2018, the society provided 6,700 free lodging nights through Hope Lodge in Honolulu.

• In 2018, the society provided 1,233 cancer patients in Hawaii with patient kits to track important information.

• In 2018, the society helped 1,100 residents through the National Cancer Information Center, which is available 24/7.

• In 2018, the society increased cancer screenings and HPV vaccination rates through 24 partnerships with Hawaii health systems.

• In 2018, the society advocated through its CAN (Cancer Action Network) for a Congress-approved $2 billion increase in medical research funding.

• In 2018, the society was the largest private funder of cancer research, with $450 million invested throughout the U.S.

Local cancer survivor Grace Arakaki and her husband, James, understand firsthand how vital access to treatment is.

“I was surprised at the benefit of seeing and talking with other cancer survivors, and I was touched by the generosity of the staff and volunteers at Hope Lodge Honolulu,” said Grace Arakaki.

With the help of sponsors, 87 business and family teams and more than 2,000 participants, 2018’s Relay For Life of Hilo raised more than $256,000 and celebrated the birthdays of more than 200 cancer survivors.

This year’s event theme is a fun Western theme, “Give Cancer the Boot,” said Linda Griffin, event lead.

“We have a lot of family fun activities planned for everyone, including horse rides, line dancing, Zumba and bouncing castles, to name a few,” she said. “It should be a fun event for all that attend. Don’t forget our Luminaria Ceremony at 9 p.m., where you can honor loved ones lost or those that are currently battling cancer now. Thanks to the generous donation of our local businesses, we have an amazing silent auction that has a little something of everything.”

The American Cancer Society also will have a Survivor Celebration before the relay event from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. at Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale. All cancer survivors and their caregiver are invited to attend. To RSVP, call the Hilo office at 935-9763.


To join a team or donate to the Relay For Life of Hilo, visit RelayForLife.org/hilohi.

To learn more, call the American Cancer Society Hilo office at 935-9763.

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