Hundreds of people joined together Saturday at the Kaiser Permanente Sports Complex in Southwest Bakersfield for the sixth annual “Campout Against Cancer” fundraiser. Cancer survivors were honored as part of the fundraiser for the nonprofit Kern County Cancer Fund.
The two-day event featured games, a parade, and a ceremony to recognize survivors.
Lerone Whitfield, 18, was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma when he was nine years old.
“I was devastated. I didn’t know what to think,” he said upon learning about his diagnosis. “It just means a lot to me that they set up for survivors, that’s why I like coming. ‘it means a lot to know I’m not the only survivor in Bakersfield, not the only one that’s been through a lot,” he continued.
Attendee Stephanie Lynch shared a similar sentiment.
“I’m a 17 year breast cancer survivor,” she said. “This community is so supportive. And until you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you really don’t know the depth of the support in Bakersfield.”
Jazmin Hall came with her husband and two young daughters. Her family raised $5,000 for the event.
“I found out august 2nd, 2018. It was very hard because we’re so young, we have such a young family,” she said. But through the hardships, she and her family are holding strong, evident by the message on the family’s “Hope for Jazmin” T-shirts.
“God always has a plan,” Hall said. “…you just have to trust in the plan and everything always happens for a reason.”
Hall’s fellow survivors shared a similar sentiment.
“We’ve just been through a lot, but it doesn’t change who we are,” said Whitfield.
Lynch said her heart “sank” when she learned of her diagnoses nearly two decades ago, but added she came “back stronger, and I’m not ready to give that up,”
It is unclear how much money was raised, but organizers said they should know by the end of the weekend. The money raised will stay in Kern County, according to organizers.