Monday, May 19, 2008

234. Helping When Times Are Tough!

The Marianas March Against Cancer raised more than $70,000 this year! That's an amazing feat given that the economy here has gone from stagnant to inert.

As usual, the March was held at the athletic field at Hopwood Junior High school. All of the teams had booths ranged around the track. In true island style, I showed up about 9 PM for an event that "started" at 6 PM, and found out that they hadn't even finished introducing the teams, the over-night relay race of runners, joggers, and walkers around the track had not yet started, and I hadn't missed anything of note.

The atmosphere was great. There were a ton of people (I had to park in San Antonio!), the air was fresh and cool, and the familiar voice of Celia Mercado echoed from the speakers as she wrapped up the introductions, urged the teams to parade around the track, and then finally opened the track to the relay race.

The race was the usual mash of children and teens with excess energy dashing around the track at top speed, with a handful of slower, but not less dedicated, team members jogging and walking on the outer lanes of the track.

I wanted to add a photo here, but I didn't take any. Jack Hardy was busy photographing everything. But alas, I couldn't find any I could borrow. :-(

I don't know what team ran the most laps. I do know that TEAM BODIG did a great job in other categories. Team Bodig won the "spirit" award, which seems fitting because they had a great turnout of family, from the youngest to the oldest, and a whole lot of them were in MMAC tee shirts!

Team Bodig won the "best booth" award, too. They did an eclectic combination of broadway musical and Chamorro lisayu! Dorothy had escaped from Wizard of Oz and was serving hamburgers and hotdogs at the booth's food counter. You could take your food to an area of picnic tables, or detour down a yellow brick road that led through a rainbow arch, into a "room" with silk & paper flower streamers hanging from the tent ceiling, white pillars holding lit candle-glasses, and a multi-tiered altar covered with satin holding framed photos of the family members who had died from cancer. Only in Saipan.

Team Bodig also won the "most luminaries sold." They added more than 1,000 luminaries to the inside rim of the track, helping to light the route all night long.

And last and certainly not least, Team Bodig raised the most money of the teams in the family category (and I think overall, beating out corporate winner PIC by about $6,000).

Special kudos to TEAM BODIG! And kudos to all teams and their members, to all people in the community, who supported the MMAC, and to the sponsors and organizers. No one group could do this alone--this was truly a community effort.

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