More than $121K raised; over 2K luminaries this year
Thousands turned up to support the Commonwealth Cancer Association’s signature fundraiser last Friday and Saturday at the Hopwood Junior High School field in Chalan Piao.
The 2015 Marianas March Against Cancer, held from May 1 to 2, had more teams showing up in the fight against cancer.
The event kicked off with the opening ceremony at 6pm with the posting of colors by Kagman High School’s JROTC, the singing of the national anthem from Marianas High School glee club, and welcoming remarks from Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang.
“It goes without saying that cancer is a serious and real threat that has taken the best among us. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that we continue to stand up as one united community, and fight this dreadful disease, be it through volunteerism or donating to health organizations, medical research, outreach programs, or simply promoting public awareness via active participation in community events like MMAC,” Apatang said in his remarks.
Apatang noted that he himself is a cancer survivor.
“Let us continue to pay tribute to our loved ones and compatriots who have lost their battle against cancer as well as fight on for our own survival, cancer survivors, protection of our children and many generations to come. Let’s continue to fight the good fight until we’re the last ones standing and cancer is no more,” he said.
Over 20 cancer survivors were recognized and presented with medallions. Cancer survivor Cesar Dumatol made his survivor’s speech followed by the survivor’s lap.
The luminary ceremony and the reading of names followed at 6:30pm, to honor those who have survived cancer, are undergoing treatment, and those who have lost the fight against cancer.
The 12-hour event featured over 15 booths displayed around the field hosting games, refreshments, brochures, products, and activities for community members.
Teams competed in four categories—Pulan (Families), Napu (Schools), Puti’un (Businesses), and Atdao (Non-Profit/Government Agencies).
Teams included Mt. Carmel School, Marianas Resort and Spa with Hopwood Junior High and the U.S. Marine Corps, IT&E and Saipan Southern High School, the CNMI government, Korason, Joeten and Marianas High School, Chacha Oceanview Junior High School, Team Bodig, First Hawaiian Bank and Napu Riders, Tan Holdings and Kagman High School, Pacific Islands Club, Faiye, Talaabwogh, and Precision Medical Imaging and Dandan Middle School.
Team Bodig receives most awards
Around 5am the closing of MMAC began with prayers followed by the presentation of awards.
Team Bodig won four awards, becoming the most awarded team once again. Bodig won for best tent, spirit, Pulan category for family, and most luminaries sold.
Team Talaabwogh won best baton. The newest team—MRS, HJHS, and U.S Marine Corps—won most laps. Tan Holdings and KHS won the newest award called rising star. PIC won in the Pution category for corporate. The CNMI government won in the Atdao category for non-profit/government and Mt. Carmel won for the Napu category for schools.
In an interview, MMAC overall committee chair Diana I. Benavente noted that 2,429 luminaries were sold.
“Our luminaries were sold out. Even after it was sold out they were asking for 600 more,” Benavente said.
MMAC public relations committee vice chair Chris Concepcion said that over $121,000 was raised.