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Santa Maria cancer support organization ‘Cruzin’ for Life’ revs back up after long absence

Cruzin' for Life

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - After a long absence, Cruzin' for Life is gearing up for a big return to action in 2024.

"We're so excited to be back," said new Cruzin' for Life President Karen Lewis. "People have been asking us when are you coming back? When are we going to do this again? So we were finally able to, the pandemic is over, and so the board is back and we're ready."

Created 20 years ago in 2004, the non-profit organization has raised more than $2 million to help support local cancer patients and programs in the Santa Maria Valley and Central Coast.

"So far, we have raised two-and-half million dollars," said Cruzin' for Life Vice President Marjorie Maupin. "We've donated two vehicles that transports cancer patients to and from their treatments (to Mission Hope Cancer Center). We are a 100% volunteer organization. That's what we're proud of. We are 100%, so none of us get paid. We all do this to help our fellow Santa Marians who who are battling cancer"

Since it first started, Cruzin' for Life has raised money through two popular events held annually in Santa Maria, an all-you-can-eat crab dinner in February, and a cruise/car show/dinner and auction held in September.

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the two fundraisers have been inactive for several years.

The last crab feed was held in Feb. 2020, just one month before the pandemic started, while the last dinner and auction was held in Sept. 2019.

"I think that's the worst part is we're an organization that wants to give back to our community," said Maupin. "So those years that we were down, it was heartbreaking because we saw the need and the need was growing and yet we were unable to help, so now we're back. We feel good about it. We're energized. So we look forward to our events."

Now for 2024, a newly installed Board of Directors is bringing both of the events back, starting with the crab feast on Feb. 10 at the Santa Maria Fairpark.

The car cruise/show/dinner and auction is scheduled for Sept. 27-28 at the Fairpark.

"As soon as we started contacting our main donors and people who have always supported us over the years, they were so excited," said Lewis. "They were immediately count me in. We had it out on our social media pages and the response was just overwhelming. They were so excited to see we were back."

Originally created by Clifford Labastida and his brothers, Cruzin' for Life is now under new leadership.

The Labastidas, who have long been an invaluable part of the community, have retired from the organization and have passed leadership onto the new board.

"(Clifford Labastida) happily pass the torch on to us because he wanted to see it continue, so we are thankful to all the support," said Maupin. "They still support us. So we're grateful that the law, the status, will be here in force and help us out."

For additional information about Cruzin' for Life and the upcoming crab feast, click here.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County
area non-profits
community fundraisers
cruzin' for life

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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.


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