GLENDALE — Five years ago, Glendale Water & Power employee Keisha Fulton-Guerrero was at a planning meeting for the city's annual Relay for Life event when she learned her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
"It made me push a little more to get my team motivated," she said. "Normally our teams were raising about $3,000. My first year we raised almost $8,000."
Five years later and with her mother in remission, Fulton-Guerrero is now co-chair of this year's seventh annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life, a 24-hour event starting at 9 a.m. today at Scholl Canyon's baseball fields. The event is organized by city officials and community members, with Glendale Adventist Medical Center as this year's presenting sponsor.
Beyond raising funds for cancer research and increasing awareness, organizers say the event also brings together cancer survivors and others who have been touched by the disease.
"It's awesome to see Glendale come together as a community, she said. "It's just about love and honoring those who have fought this horrible struggle and remembering those who have passed away."
During the 24-hour event, each fundraising team aims to have at least one person walking the track at all times. Inspirational features, community booths and an evening candlelight ceremony will also be featured.
Glendale firefighter Jason Bess has raised more than $1,000 this year in honor of his mother, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2008 only six months after she was diagnosed.
"When my mom was going through all of that, it's a pretty helpless feeling," he said. "Doing the Relay for Life was the only thing that made me feel like I could fight back and actually accomplish something."
For more information, visit http://www.relayforlife.org/glendaleCA.