Relay For Life takes place in Pembroke Pines

18-hour walkathon began Friday at Walter C. Young Middle School

By Christina Vazquez - Reporter

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. - In an overnight event to help find a cure for cancer and to honor and support survivors of the disease, this year's Relay For Life in Pembroke Pines took place Friday evening at Walter C. Young Middle School.

From team activities to the survivor walk, Local 10's Kristi Krueger says her kids are the inspiration for her active involvement in the Pembroke Pines Relay For Life.

"Cancer really has touched all of our lives in some way or another," said Krueger. "My husband's father died of colon cancer a number of years ago, and my son Troy started a Relay For Life team and my daughter Kelsey took over that team, so I've always been a team mom."

Krueger says this year, she is co-chairing the event and is thrilled to be doing it.

"It's for my kids and my future," said Krueger.

Helen Moonen was also at Relay For Life with her daughter. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last November.

"My children came through my mind, that's the first thing I thought of," said Moonen. "I thought of the moments I would miss, the things they would be doing that I wouldn't be involved doing with them."

Moonen said she had surgery on Jan. 29.

"It's been a little over four weeks and here I am," said Moonen.

The 18-hour walkathon celebrates survivors like Moonen. It also honors those who lost their struggle, while raising money for the American Cancer Society.

This is the event's 15th anniversary and Krueger says in that time they have raised $2 million and expect to reach their goal this year of $150,000.

"All year long these teams have been fundraising, and this is sort of the culmination of their hard work," said Krueger.

While fundraising may be the pragmatic purpose of the event, getting to this point builds awareness and connections which serve as a valuable resource to survivors. The teams also sell goods at the event to help raise money. 

"Knowing people in the community, that they are survivors as well, it's actually made it easier for me to go through it," said Moonen.

There is also back-to-back entertainment to include a DJ and performances by community groups.  Local 10's Christina Vazquez said those at the event did the Harlem Shake, had a lot of fun and even camped out in the cold.

"This is wonderful," said Moonen. "It means a lot to me right now."

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