The 17th Annual Marianas March Against Cancer was able to raise over $200,000 over the weekend, despite Super Typhoon Yutu last October dampening efforts to raise funds this year.
In total, the 2019 MMAC received $213,784.15 in in-kind and monetary donations. This year’s MMAC had over 35 sponsors and 17 teams participating in the event, which started Friday evening and finished Saturday morning.
Although the total earnings did not exceed last year’s $250,800, MMAC steering committee co-chair Bobby Cruz told Saipan Tribune in an interview that the amount is remarkable and only secondary, considering that the CNMI is still recovering. The goal was just to make the event happen this year.
“To have [over] 35 sponsors, 17 teams, and raise over $125,000 in monetary donations—that is just icing to this already amazing cake,” he added.
He said that when the MMAC committee set out to hold the fundraiser, it wasn’t so much about the fundraising effort.
“…The main purpose of the [MMAC] is to bring awareness to the community that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the CNMI and is going to impact 1 in 3 people throughout their lifetime,” he added.
Cruz said this year’s MMAC was held at the Airport Field, also known as the Commonwealth Ports Authority Field—an empty lot near the Saipan airport—because the Hopwood Middle School campus where the MMAC is traditionally held was leveled during Super Typhoon Yutu.
MMAC steering committee co-chair Carline Sablan told Saipan Tribune that this year’s MMAC was especially challenging because of Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu. Yet what made this year extra-special was that, despite the setbacks, the community was still able to pull together and make the 2019 MMAC possible, she said.
“We have to continue supporting the survivors and honoring those that have passed on,” she said.
According to Cruz, about 7,000 people attended the annual event.
MMAC awarded plaques to the teams 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 CNMIGOV/Ayuda Network for raising more funds this year than in previous years.
The Rookie of the Year award was given to Team Commonwealth Utilities Corp. for being the newest team to join MMAC.
The Patty Kaipat Spirit award, an honorary award on behalf of the late Patricia Kaipat, a former member of the Commonwealth Cancer Association and the MMAC for several years until succumbing to cancer, was given to Team Bodig for their enthusiasm and participation in all MMAC meetings. Team Bodig also took home the award for Most Luminaries Sold, the Best Baton Award, and the Most Money Raised Award in the Pulan (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 Team Triple J Lancherus for running the most laps from start to finish.
Team Public School System/Saipan Paddling Club took home the Best Tent award for their creativity and the amount of work put into the decoration of their tent.
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 Mariana 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 IT&E/Saipan Southern High School and the award for Most Money Raised in the Tano (non-profit/school/institution) category went to Team PSS/SPC.