Saugus Union School District announced that its district team, “SUSD: Let’s Teach Cancer a Lesson,” was selected as the regional winner for the Pat Flynn Spirit of Relay Team Award for the 2023 American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
The region includes teams in California, Guam and Hawaii. The SUSD team will now participate in the recognition process for the nation and be honored with award winners from the four other regions.
SUSD was nominated by the Santa Clarita Valley Relay for Life leaders as a first-time team because of their enthusiasm, inclusivity, and fundraising ability, according to a news release from the Saugus district. The SCV Relay for Life was held May 6.
According to the release, Abby Smith of the SCV Relay for Life staff nominated the SUSD team, stating, “The Pat Flynn Spirit of Relay Awards are intended to honor and recognize a community/individual that embodies the same spirit of Relay that the ‘Mother of Relay,’ Pat Flynn, inspired in Relay participants around the world. You all really made the most phenomenal impact on this event both in fundraising and energy the day of the event.”
The SUSD: Let’s Teach Cancer a Lesson team was led by team captains Barbara Tapia, assistant director of human resources and risk management (retired), and Katie Demsher, principal of Emblem Academy.
“Together the captains inspired many others from across the district to participate in the relay event, to donate items for the gift basket raffles, to gather donations from friends and family, and so much more to support this amazing cause,” the SUSD release said. “This gift was born out of caring for members of the organization that were suffering the pain and loss that cancer brings to families, but that gift actually was the ability for our team to come together and support each other through our individual pain, loss, fight, and survivorship.”
The SUSD team raised $23,219 and were the top fundraisers for the entire SCV Relay for Life event in 2023, the release said.
“The team captains and the district leadership deeply appreciate the dedication and generosity of everyone associated with this event,” the release said. “Thank you to everyone who participated in and support this event. It was a true joy to participate and we cannot wait to have our team teach cancer another lesson in 2024.”