Thousands slept under the stars Saturday for the 27th annual Relay for Life at the Kern County Fairgrounds.
Brest cancer survivor Kathy Bess carried the torch for the survivors lap during the opening ceremonies.
“It was such an honor to be asked to do something like this,” Bess said. “Just to be able to let others follow in hopefully the journey that I have had to go through because there are many, many others that have had to go through that same journey and so many of us have beat it.”
Bess was first diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer 20 years ago, undergoing chemo and a double mastectomy, ultimately beating it. Eighteen years later her cancer returned, this time stage 4.
“The prognoses was not very good but I’m just so grateful to be here today to show others that you can beat this,” Bess said. “You just, you have to fight everyday.”
With the help of her husband Rocky, and her family, Bess’s team, Striking Out Cancer, has raised more than $80,000 in the last 10 years. They brought in $20,000 this year alone, joining hundreds of others camping out, all raising money for research.
“It’s nice to be able to be out here and see all of the donations and all of the pride that goes to all cancer not just one specific cancer,” Medulloblastoma survivor Daniel Oliva said.