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Renewed Relay for Life raises $41,300

Hundreds band together to support cancer survivors, research

Mario ‘MJ’ Miller
A crowd throngs the track at Uvalde Honey Bowl Stadium walking to raise money and awareness of cancer as part of the 2024 Relay for Life event. Over 400 people attended the event, held April 19.

Hundreds of glowing luminarias lined the track at the Uvalde Honey Bowl Stadium on April 19, as about 400 people walked to honor, support, and remember cancer patients, raising $41,300 for Relay for Life.

The six-hour event started at 6 p.m. and ended at midnight.

Local organizer Mario “MJ” Miller noted that 32 of 34 teams participated in person, walking miles on the track illuminated by 900 luminarias, white decorated bags lit by glow sticks ranging from purple, pink, green, orange and more.

“We easily had 400 people in the first lap that was for everyone,” Miller said.

He said members of Uvalde and surrounding communities truly came together to make the night a success.

“Overall, it was fantastic. You know, the weather held up, it was cool. We’re just very thankful to all who joined us, to all of our sponsors, to everyone who contributed in any way. It was a success, and it was a community event,” Miller said.

A section of more than 900 luminarias light up walkers paths on the track at Uvalde Honey Bowl Stadium during Relay for Life

He said Uvalde High School cheerleaders walked alongside cancer survivors for a lap. South Texas Junior College students crafted a nine-foot “Hope” sign in purple rope lights. SWTJC Law Enforcement Academy cadets and about a dozen U.S. Border Patrol agents supported by preparing luminarias and setting up the event space. Over 30 La Pryor High School students, designated “Bulldog Pride” volunteered as event runners and for clean-up.

Local talents, including singer Matteo Padilla and the band Project 99 featuring drummer Adam Ocasio, entertained the crowd with performances, along with the Sahawe Dancers and Marianna Rowan, who sang the national anthem. UvaldeRadio.net also broadcast songs.

Uvalde County Judge Bill Mitchell led the Pledge of Allegiance and issued a proclamation for the event, and the Rev. Matthew De Leon gave the invocation.

Miller said Uvalde school district coach Norma Jean Sandoval and her husband Michael Derek Sandoval hosted hourly activities.

Mario ‘MJ’ Miller
Some members of the 2024 Relay for Life event leadership team with Bryan Sherwood (second from left) National Director for Relay for Life, on an oversized inflatable purple chair at the event. At least 400 people attended the Uvalde Relay for Life, held April 19 from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Uvalde Honey Bowl Stadium, walking the track, listening to music and doing activities to help raise funds to support cancer research and treatment.

Bryan Sherwood, the senior director of Relay for Life, delivered a speech.

Participants observed an hour of silence at 10 p.m. and then recited names from the luminarias.

Music and celebration then picked up again at 11 p.m. to midnight.

The event was held after a five-year hiatus, with the last Relay for Life held here in 2019.

Miller said plans for next year are already in the works.

“We’re for sure doing this again. Definitely. Relay for Life is back in Uvalde,” Miller said.

jkeeble@ulnnow.com, 830-278-3335