A record-breaking MMAC

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Luminaries light up the night in memory of those who lost the battle against cancer during the annual Marianas March Against Cancer event last Friday at the Hopwood Middle School field. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

The 2018 Marianas March Against Cancer last Friday and Saturday at the Hopwood Middle School field broke multiple records in MMAC history.

From the number of participating teams to the number of sponsors, the 16th Annual Marianas March Against Cancer exceeded all records of previous years.

According to MMAC steering committee co-chair Bobby Cruz, this year’s MMAC had 20 teams and the support of 35 sponsors.

“We’ve never had 20 teams participate in the past. The closest we came was 19 teams and that was several years ago…it’s so awesome…and we received 35 sponsors this year, which is just amazing,” he said.

MMAC steering committee co-chair Carline Sablan said the committee also sold out its shirts and luminaries.

“We ordered 5,000 luminaries and we had to get wick candles because we sold out and it was just an amazing year,” she said.

The result of this year’s MMAC is a testament to how far the community has come in terms of its involvement in the fight against cancer, Sablan said.

“It’s definitely gaining more and more support from the community…we’re definitely bringing everyone together to join in the fight against cancer,” she said.

Cruz said that he and his team started as early as possible, which he believes was the reason for the success of the event.

“We had very strong support from the community…we had an incredible support team…but also we started early. We really wanted to pay attention to all the details, to make sure that we had ample time to reach out to the community to make sure everyone knew about what the march against cancer is about,” he said.

This year’s MMAC also raised more cash donations compared to last year.

This year, MMAC raised $179,936 in monetary donations. That’s $15,383 more than the $164,553 raised last year.

Overall, MMAC raised $250,800 in-cash and in-kind donations this year. Last year, MMAC raised $220,300. All donations received through MMAC will be donated to the Commonwealth Cancer Association to aid those who are still battling cancer.

As usual, MMAC awarded plaques to the team that won in categories like Most Funds Raised, Best Baton, Best Tent, Community Spirit, Inspirational Spirit, Most Laps, Most Luminaries Sold, Rising Star, and Rookie of the Year during the closing ceremony.

The Rising Star award was given to team TanHoldings and Kagman High School for generating significantly more than they did in previous years.

The Rookie of the Year award was given to Team CNMI PSS and Saipan Paddle Club for being the newest team to join MMAC and for embodying this year’s theme: “One Community, One Journey.”

The Community Spirit award was given to Team Bodig for their enthusiasm and participation in all the MMAC meetings. Team Bodig also took home the award for Most Money raised in the Pullan (family) category.

The Inspirational Spirit award was given to Talaabwogh Star for their unwavering spirit throughout the night.

The Most Laps award was given to Marianas Health Services for running the most laps from start to finish.

The Most Luminaries Sold award was given to Fa’ye for selling about $8,000 worth or luminaries.

The Best Baton award was given to IT&E and Saipan Southern High School for representing their team’s theme perfectly through their baton.

The Lady Diann Torres Foundation and the Northern Marianas College took home the Best Tent award for their creativity and the amount of work put into the decoration of their tent. The team also won the most funds raised under the Tanu (non-profit/and or school/institution/ and or government) category.

The most money raised in the Puti’on (corporate) category was Team Pacific Islands Club.

For the most Money Raised in the Atdao (nonprofit/government) category, the award was given to team Northern Marianas Islands Football Association.

The award for Most Money raised in the Napu (school) category was given to Mount Carmel School.

The award for Most Money raised in the Tasi (corporate/family/non-profit or school) category was given to Team Lancheros.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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