12-hour American Cancer Society event will take place in Sunken Gardens

For the second year in a row, a joint North County Relay For Life event will take place in Sunken Gardens in downtown Atascadero. The Paso Robles and Atascadero events merged last year in an effort to save resources from having two events, a trend that has been happening throughout the country.

“We looked at some of our smaller communities that had smaller events [and combined events],” American Cancer Society Community Organizer Tony Gonzales said.

The 2018 event, the first event for the North County together, had 15 teams with 70 participants. All-in-all, Gonzales said, the event raised $55,000 on and offline.

“[The funds raised is] definitely up for each [event],” Gonzales said, adding that costs of having one combined event is half the cost of having two separate ones.

He said that it is estimated that this year’s event will raise about $70,000. That amount is even with the event going from a 24-hour event to a 12-hour event. The 24-hour event, Gonzales  said, takes up a whole weekend with setup Friday night and clean up on Sunday. This year’s event will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on June 15.

“There are no overnights this year,” Gonzales said, “which is a change from last year.”

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Already the event has more teams and participants than it did in 2018.

“The No. 1 way [to help] is to be a participant on a team or start [your] own team,” Gonzales said.

Teams have one to 20 people and the goal is for each person to raise $100. Each person who raises $100 will get a T-shirt. Gonzales said there are many ways people can raise money. While some people and teams are raising money during the relay, most of the fundraising is done in advance of the event as the event is more of a celebration of all the fundraising that has been done.

“[It’s] great to have North County communities reach for the stars as we work together to help raise awareness and necessary funds to help more people celebrate more birthdays,” North County Relay for Life organizer Dawn Daner said. “We are excited about the new 12-hour format and fun changes for this year. We will still have free Kid Zone with projects from Home Depot.”

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