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Cruzin’ For Life fundraiser makes big donation to Mission Hope Cancer Center

Cruzin’ For Life delivers once again to Mission Hope Cancer Center.

On Wednesday, board members with the non-profit organization announced Mission Hope will receive a $120,000 donation.

It’s part of their annual contribution to Mission Hope raised through two popular events held annually in Santa Maria.

“Every year they just up the ante and make their efforts a little bigger and greater and we’re so appreciative of it,” said Marian Cancer Care Medical Director Dr. Robert Dichmann. “It’s incredible because we really use that money directly to the patients and so many people benefit.”

The donation will go towards helping several programs and services patients receive free of charge, including rent money, gas and gift cards, transportation, classes and much more.

“We can really do so much more now for our patients,” said Dr. Dichmann. “When you fight the battle of cancer, it’s not just medical part of it. It’s the whole social part of it and what it means to the family, reduced income, reduced ability to work and these funds really go towards helping the entire family, not just the patient, not necessarily towards their medical care, but rather for their well being.”

Now in its 15th year, Cruzin’ For Life holds a crab dinner in February, and its marquee event in September, a two-day long cruise, car show, dinner and auction.

“We live in such a giving community,” said board member Kara Cole. “It’s the volunteers year after year. Everyone signs up. (Patients) going through this struggle, that keeps us working as hard as well to know that we’re making a difference in somebody’s personal life.”

Since it was first held in 2004, Cruzin’ For Life has raised more than $1.6 million, with most of it ($1.2 million) donated to Mission Hope Cancer Center.

“To hear that number, $1.2 million today was exciting,” Cole said. “I think everybody felt it that we just can’t believe we hit that mark and how much we’ve been able to do for this community.”

“It’s great to see a community of people and the community at large stepping forward to make sure we’re meeting those needs every year,” said Dr. Dichmann.

In addition to the Mission Hope donation, Cruzin’ For Life is also donating $35,000 to Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties and $5,000 to the American Cancer Society.

“It starts from the ground up,” said Cole. “It starts with the volunteers. It starts with the board, getting everything organized, all the way to the top where the donors are. It’s all involved. Every piece of the puzzle fits.”

Next year’s Cruzin’ For Life will be held Sept. 20-21, 2019.

For more information, visit the Cruzin’ For Life website.

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