Cancer survivors, surfers and community members gathered Sunday morning at La Jolla Shores to “wipe out cancer” at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center’s the 6th annual celebration. The event supports those fighting cancer and cancer survivors, brings awareness to the need for cancer research and hopefully broke a local record.
Attendees lined up surfboards along the shores, nose to tail, from Scripps Pier down La Jolla Shores. Preliminary numbers look like the surfboard line crushed last year’s length, which was longer than five football fields.
“Survivor Beach offers a unique and meaningful way for anyone who has been touched by cancer to gather and receive support and inspiration,” said Jessica Yingling, chair of Survivor Beach, in an announcement.
The event precedes the Luau and Longboard Invitational in August, which will raise funds for research, patient care, and outreach and educational programs at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. The Luau and Longboard Invitational has raised more than $5 million to fund cancer research at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center in the past 19 years.
“The line of surfboards conveys the ‘aloha spirit’ felt at both Survivor Beach and the Luau and Longboard Invitational. It is a visual reminder of the saying, ‘many hands make light work,’” Yingling said. “Fighting cancer takes many hands: the strength of the patient, the attentiveness of the doctors and medical staff, the persistence of the researchers and the support of family, friends and the community. The line reminds us that together we are stronger than one. Together we can fight this disease and win.”
In addition to the surfboard lineup, speakers shared inspirational stories about fighting cancer, local musician Rob Mehl performed and the Heali’i’s Polynesian Revue danced.
Not far away, Scripps Health has organized a celebration and concert at the Valerie Timken Amphitheater at Scripps Green Hospital. Survivors, physicians and caregivers will take part in the free event.
Pianist Sue Palmer, a 10-year survivor of breast cancer, will perform the concert.
According to Scripps Health, the overall survival rate for cancer is now about 70 percent today, up from 50 percent 30 years ago. The healthcare organization will hold similar events at its other hospitals through the month.
–City News Service contributed to this report.