The 2013 Marianas March Against Cancer raised a total of $124,049.95 in donations over the weekend, with long-time and new teams winning the event’s prestigious awards.
Of this amount, over $84,000 was in cash. Overall committee chair Manny Borja said the total amount of contributions for the overnight event surpassed last year’s yield.
Borja acknowledged the hard work put in not only by the committee but especially the various participating teams and sponsors for making the Commonwealth Cancer Association’s annual fundraiser a huge success.
“Everything is because of the teams and sponsors. This year’s turnout shows that the community’s support in the battle against cancer is growing and we’re very pleased with that,” he told Saipan Tribune.
“We’re all affected by cancer in one way or another, whether it’s ourselves, our families and friends. We just ask that the community continue to support CCA because the money goes to a very good cause,” he added.
The 12-hour event began Friday evening with an invocation from Fr. Ryan P. Jimenez followed by the recognition ceremony for some 81 cancer survivors.
The survivors were joined by their family members as they led the first walk around the Hopwood Jr. High School Field while cheered on by members of the 14 participating teams and other spectators.
One survivor, Maggie Deleon Guerrero Wonenberg, noted that MMAC is one of the events that help promote awareness about cancer and raise funds to continue vital research to identify causes and develop strategies for prevention, diagnosis, treatments, and cure for this disease.
Wonenberg, this year’s inspirational speaker, shared her story about how one lump she found on her neck in February 2007 led to her cancer journey.
In September of that year, the doctor advised Wonenberg that she may have a type of cancer called lymphoma. One month later, a doctor confirmed that she had stage 3 of follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The news was difficult for Wonenberg, more so for her husband Barry, she said. Since the treatments were in Guam, Wonenberg had to deal with the pain of chemotherapy in each flight.
Although her husband and children did their best to make her comfortable and showed their love and care, Wonenberg said that ultimately she had to trod her journey by herself.
“This was my journey of my cancer; the path that I took not by choice but because I had gotten sick. The path where I found myself became my journey and I chose to be on the driver’s seat,” she told her audience.
Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider, in his remarks, said that cancer is an issue that is close to his heart. He vowed to support efforts to educate the public about the disease.
“Many of the risk factors for cancer and most non-communicable diseases can be alleviated by leading a healthy life,” he said. “So let us work as a community to change our habits and improve our health, and the health of our next generation.”
Mayor Donald G. Flores urged the pubic to stop smoking, eat right, engage in physical activities, and have routine screenings to fight cancer, adding that the presence of survivors is a living testament that the disease can be defeated.
“It may take some time and it may be very difficult, but with perseverance and faith, we will defeat cancer,” he added.
Winners of this year’s event were Team Bodig, which took home the awards for Best Baton, and Most Luminaries Sold; Team Talaabwogh Star, Best Tent; Team Aschoscho, Most Laps; and Team IT&E/SSHS, Most Spirit.
For the teams with the most money raised, the winners were Team Bodig for Pulan (family) category with $15,940.93; Mount Carmel School for Napu (school) category; Team DHS for Atdao (non-profit/government) category; and Team PIC for Puti’un (business) category.