Make that 48 hours, $190,000

Daily Pilot

The Relay for Life held May 15 and 16 at Newport Harbor High School raised $120,000 to fund cancer research.

The money raised comes on the heels of a similar Relay for Life event that was held at Orange Coast College this past weekend.

That event raised roughly $70,000, bringing the total to nearly $190,000.

More than 1,000 participants, forming 38 teams, walked around the track for 24 hours straight at the high school, swapping tales of survival while remembering those who died of cancer.

At Orange Coast College, the same scenario played out as 35 teams showed up in the name of fighting the disease and walked nonstop for 24 hours around the track at OCC.

Ted Braxton, in charge of all of Orange County's Relay for Life for the Santa Ana branch of the American Cancer Society, said the money from the pair of events will now go directly toward cancer research.

At Newport High School, Heather Beyer's team, "The Fun Bags," managed to raise more than $20,000 in the name of Heather, who was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in the year and is now trying to stave off the disease, which has spread to her lungs and neck.

A former Newport Harbor High School cheer coach and Anaheim Angels Strike Force Girl, Beyer has encouraged anybody who has any doubt about what's going on with their bodies never to take the first diagnosis for granted.

Last fall she found a lump in her breast, and doctors at an Urgent Care said she didn't have anything to worry about, she said.

But a few months later she went back, after the lump had grown significantly, and it turned out to be cancer, she said.

Since then she's been receiving chemotherapy, and her team, consisting of family and friends, has rallied behind the 26-year-old Orange County resident.

Across the county each year, there are roughly 34 Relay for Life events, 31 of them in the communities and three at various colleges, according to Braxton.

So far, nine have been completed, including Saturday's event at Orange Coast College, he said.

"In these challenging times, this outstanding show of support proves that the residents of Newport Beach stand shoulder-to shoulder with the American Cancer Society to achieve its mission of saving lives by helping people stay well," said Peggy Fort, a marketing specialist for Relay for Life.

The American Cancer Society raises $3.4 billion annually, which helps more than 11 million people in the nation who have either had cancer — not to mention the countless more who have avoided it, Fort said.

Communities can always still make donations toward cancer research at the American Cancer Society.

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