More than 350 walkers, runners and four-legged friends took to the Sonoma Raceway road course on Saturday for the 8th annual John's March Against Stomach Cancer, the West Coast's only fundraising walk for No Stomach for Cancer.
The unique fundraiser generated $23,670 for No Stomach for Cancer (www.NoStomachForCancer.org), bringing the event's eight-year total to more than $133,000 raised for gastric cancer research and awareness.
Participants ranging from competitive runners to families, including children on bikes and in strollers, enjoyed a spin around the 2.52-mile, 12-turn road course on foot during the event, which is held in honor of John Cardinale, the long-time Sonoma Raceway spokesman who passed away in 2013 after a two-year battle with stomach cancer.
"Events like John's March are a critical part of sustaining this organization. Without this event in particular, it would be difficult to do the things we do and gives us the extra visibility we wouldn't get otherwise," said No Stomach for Cancer Executive Director Jon Florin. "There is something to be said about honoring someone's legacy as it reinforces the need to promote education, awareness and prevention around gastric cancer."
Many of the participants in John's March have been directly affected by the disease, the third most common cause of cancer deaths globally. Participants came out to honor not only Cardinale, but spouses, parents and friends who have succumbed to stomach cancer.
"We heard about the event because our mom has stomach cancer and we were looking for an opportunity to support my mom and also an opportunity to share awareness," said Sarah Ree Young, who marched alongside family and friends at her first John's March. "We weren't really sure what to expect and thought it would be a small, intimate crowd, and we were happy to find there is a big following and we're really happy and thankful to the raceway for hosting."
"It's been amazing; the views and walking on this race track. I don't think you get an experience like this doing anything else, so it's been great," said Alex Young. "Gastric cancer affects people of all ages and races, so we want people to know that there are those of us out there who support you all the way."
No Stomach For Cancer is a non-profit group that works to increase awareness and education about stomach cancer, provide a support network for affected families and support research efforts for screening, early detection, treatment and prevention of stomach cancer.
Donations can still be made in honor of John's March at www.NoStomachForCancer.org. Sonoma Raceway will host its 9th annual John's March Against Stomach Cancer in January 2020. For more information or to get involved, contact Diana Brennan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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