Cancer Resource Center’s Annual Survivor Festival is a Hit

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img_9366IMPERIAL — Family fun and games were in full swing Friday on the Imperial High School football field at the Cancer Resource Center of the Desert’s (CRCD) 10th Annual Cancer Survivor Fall Festival.

Sponsoring the event for ten years, the CRCD raises money for local cancer patients. It is considered a celebration of the strength and courage of cancer patients due to what they have to go through with grueling treatments. All of the proceeds raised at the event go towards CRCD and the work they do for cancer patients in the Imperial Valley.

This year, the group elected to not hold a camp out. But there were 20 teams on the field in the style of a true festival where family and friends could gather to celebrate life together, including games, food, and even a pumpkin patch for the children. A special dinner was held for cancer survivors as well as prizes given.

“This is community coming together to help community and family,” said CRCD CEO Diana Peacher.

Many of those on the teams are cancer survivors themselves, or people who have had family affected by cancer. For all, the resource center has helped them get the information they need to get through a difficult time as well as provide financial support and advisory aid for them if they need it.

A Loteria game going on at the J&S team tent.
A Loteria game brought excitement at the J&S team tent during Friday’s event at Imperial High School’s football field.

“They support the patients through their entire journey,” said Patty Larios from Brawley, who has participated every year with her sister to help support CRCD. “It’s amazing what they do for the Valley.”

Karen Cardoza of Brawley has had a team at the event since 2009, when her daughter was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She said CRCD worked with her and her family to cope with what was happening with her daughter, who lived in Yuma.

“We couldn’t be there every day for her, and Diana helped me understand that,” said Cardoza.

The Imperial Tiger football team watches anxiously as their teammate Raul Martinez removes a piece from the Jenga tower.
The Imperial Tiger football team watches anxiously as their teammate Raul Martinez removes a piece from the giant Jenga tower.

A cancer survivor, Alma Benavidas, said she feels the festival is a great way to give back. “When I need help, CRCD was there for me, and this feels like I’m giving back,” said Benavidas.

“This is what community service should be about, helping those who are sick in our community,” said Garneau. “The need is here and the money needs to stay here.”

CRCD was founded with the idea to help local families, according to Peacher. The Fall Festival alone raises $30,000 to $40,000 every year for local cancer patients. CRCD will also begin its Desert Lily Campaign in March.