Thursday22 June 2017

Next Relay for Life might be smaller 

Bakersfield's Relay for Life is known as the biggest in the world. But, the next one might be smaller. That's due to a shift of support of sorts of cancer patient care in Kern County. 17 News has learned large donors to the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life are forming their own organization called the Kern County Cancer Fund. While they support the research the American Cancer Society does, they feel the money raised in Kern County should directly help people here and they found the majority raised for the American Cancer Society does not come back.

Every year, thousands circle a Bakersfield track for Relay for Life. Every step, every dollar, every person makes goes to the American Cancer Society's fight against cancer. It's why for the last 8 years, the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center has contributed nearly $800,000 to the local effort.

"The Relay for Life is an excellent program," said Dr. Ravi Patel with the CBCC. "We also believe that the American Cancer Society does good work nationally and we are going to continue to support their program but we want to certainly send the message that we want to send a lot more of our support to to the local people in the community."

Dr. Patel and CBCC is sending that message by swinging the majority of their support to a still forming Kern County Cancer Fund. All of the money raised will stay in the community to help local cancer patients and their families pay for the cancer treatment process. The idea came from Leslie Knox and organizers of "Fight for Life." For the last 4 years, they've donated all of the money raised at the event to the American Cancer Society. Last year, that was $350,000. However, this year, money raised will go to the new Kern County Community Cancer Fund.

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