Hundreds of people participated in the 9th annual on Saturday and Sunday, camping for a grueling 24 hours at Watsonville High. But it was all for a very good cause: finding a cure for cancer.
The softball field located right next to Emmett Geiser Field was blanketed with tents and canopies from over 30 teams like Las Rositas and Pink Angels as well as local companies such as Driscoll’s, California Giant, and Bay Federal Credit Union.
Almost all of the teams posted up on the field offered some sort of goodies such as food, deserts, refreshments, fresh fruit, and refreshments or a chance to win prizes from trivia questions and interesting facts about health related issues.
Around 9 p.m., just about everybody involved in the event gathered around the stage area to hear several words from members of the staff right before the ceremonial luminary lap around the track on Emmett Field.
Zenaida Castillo, 50, has been a part of the Relay for Life, a fundraiser for cancer research, since it first started in Watsonville back in 2003 and her second and final year as the chair of the relay. She too had something to say to the crowd on Saturday night.
“I’ve had such a wonderful time in case you couldn’t tell,” said Castillo into the microphone. “It has been really, really great. This is the hardest fun I have every year.”
The Relay for Life, which was also held in two Monterey County cities during the weekend, is a time to remember those who've lost their battle with cancer, and also the survivors.
Jackie Lopez is a young local artist in the making and put on a small yet stellar musical performance when she sang “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera, “Eye Is On The Sparrow” by Lauren Hill, and “Amor Eterno” by Rocio Durcal. Her voice was marvelous on the speakers and nearby neighbors even started to walk over just to find out who was behind the microphone.
When it was time to take the ceremonial lap around the circle of lit bags along the synthetic track on Emmett Field, Paul Llewellyn from the Santa Cruz Pipes of Dreams group led the march of people and played music from his bagpipe dedicated to those who have survived or fallen to the cruel disease.
“I think it’s a definite success,” said Castillo about this year’s Relay for Life. “I think the community really supported the event…. I just think that people are very family oriented, we’re almost like our own little neighborhood when we come here.”