For the last nine years, the Mission Hope Cancer Center in Santa Maria has brought the community together for Day of Hope and this year is no different.
In the early morning hours of August, 17th fundraising teams will scatter all across the Santa Maria area to sell special edition newspapers to fundraise for the center, but this event is not just about the fundraising, it is also to honor and remember all those who’ve faced cancer.
Raquel Salazar lost her father to cancer in 2018, she heads up team Papa Strong and knows the impact the center brings. She said "without a strong support team. I would never be able to get through it.”
For patients and families facing cancer at the Mission Hope Cancer Center the toll of treatments is emotional and financial but for one day of a year the community gathers around to ease some of that burden
Jessa Brooks, the vice president of philanthropy for the Marion foundation told us “Day of Hope is hands down an inspirational day where our entire community rallies behind cancer patients. Of course, the primary goal is for them to be making donations to the program, but Day of Hope stands for a lot more than that. It stands for a community right there where we are honoring our community cancer patients.”
Fundraising teams head to street corners from Arroyo Grande to Orcutt selling special edition Santa Maria Times newspapers for one dollar, but many choose to give more according to Brooks “community members who are participating in supporting the events. They're not just giving a dollar. They're giving $5, $20, $10, and we're getting $100 bills in there. So it's really amazing.”
The funds go to patients in need through support groups, assistance funds, and other mission hope needs. Many of the fundrasing teams have been affected firsthand.
For Salazar it's the loss of a parent that drives her.
“I started right after I lost my father,” she continued "my dad was diagnosed in April 2018. And passed on September 30th, 2018. So it was kind of a quick journey. But the people at mission hope made it. You know. I don't know if I even cried there. They just were so welcoming and so helpful. Whether it was them trying to get gift cards for medication coverage or even sending my parents money to pay part of their mortgage, they were just amazing”
Team #PAPASTRONG fundraises to continue her father's legacy. Salazar said, “I mean, I do it to keep his memory, keep his name out there, to hopefully raise funds, you know, more than I did previously in previous years. I don't know. It's just been a huge part of this the last four years. And I don't see it stopping.”
Teams will be selling newspapers from 7 am to noon before the car parade kicks off its route from the Santa Maria fairpark to the Mission Hope Cancer Center.