CALEXICO — Gabby Gasca-Zuno was shocked when she found out her then 2-year-old son was diagnosed with a form of kidney cancer in 2008.
He went through chemotherapy and radiation and is in remission at age 6.
“You never expect anything like cancer. When you hear that word, it’s like, ‘What?’” she said.
Her son gets a checkup every six months, and on Saturday, Gasca-Zuno attended the Calexico Relay for Life for the first time. The event began at 10 a.m. Saturday and continues until 10 a.m. today.
She said support from others helped her through the difficult diagnosis and treatment.
“It’s been hard, but we have a lot of support from family and that’s good. He’s doing really good,” she said. “Keep God with you. He’s the only one that will help through everything.”
Strong winds didn’t help Saturday as participants struggled to erect tents and walk around the track for the 24-hour fundraiser, but people were all smiles as the event got under way.
There are 35 teams with roughly 300 people participating this year with a goal of raising $35,000, 2012 Calexico Relay for Life Chairwoman Elizabeth Esqueda said.
“It’s important for the community, because the funds we raise go right back to Calexico,” she said. “There’s support there for patients and their families.”
Hairstylist Irene Matthews said she lost her nephew to cancer, and her husband is in recovery after being diagnosed with cancer.
She has participated with the Calexico Relay for Life for three years now by offering her hairstyling services during the event in hopes to help raise funds to cancer research.
Survivors, families, friends, and community leaders such as Sen. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, Calexico Mayor Daniel Romero, Councilman John Moreno and Consul of Mexico in Calexico Gina Andrea Cruz Blackledge came out in support of the event Saturday.
Participants sang karaoke, enjoyed visiting singers such as Patty Hurtado and, of course, took turns walking around the track.
“It’s an eye-opening experience,” Esqueda said. “There’s a lot of unity and love from the teams and the community and visitors.”
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or email@example.com
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