Several hundred kids and their parents found their hopes, embracing the first annual Jump For Gold: No Kid Fights Alone event on Sunday at Sky Zone Guam to kick off Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
"For our first annual event, it was a great success," said Rhythm Blas, cancer outreach coordinator for Guam Cancer Care. "We had over 200 kids that took advantage of the free 30-minute jump times."
Happily, their parents also took part in the activities, which included a community health fair, Blas said.
The event was a collaboration between Guam Cancer Care and Sky Zone. Strictly an event aimed at raising awareness, the focus was on the importance of eating healthy and exercising, as well as coming together as a unified community.
Besides exercising and having a good time, the goal was to educate. A community health fair and vendors aimed at living and eating right, such as STEEL Athletics, Healthy Fix, Picasso Nenis and Pay-Less Edu Kitchen, were on hand to answer questions or showcase products that can improve quality of living. Some vendors addressed nutrition and exercise while others focused on mental health and suicide prevention. The focus was improving overall health.
To keep things fun, there were dozens of raffle prizes doled out and several games for people of all ages to enjoy.
Dr. Ana Sanchez-Varela, pediatric oncologist at Guam Regional Medical City, was the event's keynote speaker, sharing her expertise on childhood cancers. Sanchez-Varela also took questions from the audience during an open forum that allowed her to address some individual concerns regarding cancer, treatment and prevention.
Guam Cancer Care Executive Director Terry Cuabo stated in a press release that the organization continues to be humbled by the "outpouring of support from community partners, such as Sky Zone Guam, to increase the awareness of childhood cancer on Guam."
The event aimed to correct the misperception that cancer only affects older people, Cuabo said.
"It is the intent of this event and the mission of Guam Cancer Care to increase public awareness on Guam about childhood cancer," Cuabo stated, adding the goal is to improve the support programs that aim to serve this specific demographic within the cancer population.
Jumping to help
Sky Zone Guam was proud to be part of the event, said general manager Jane Quidachay, adding that Sky Zone Franchise Group CEO Jeff Platt lost his mother to breast cancer a few years ago.
"Like Jeff, as a tight-knit community on Guam, cancer has impacted us in some way, big or small. ... Sky Zone Guam supports the Guam Cancer Care's mission," Quidachay said. "We take high value in education to help promote awareness and prevent diseases that impact the lives of our young children."
"Guam Cancer Care and Sky Zone hope to continue this event annually, kicking off Childhood Cancer Awareness Month every September," Blas said.
Blas said community sponsors were a big part in making the event possible.
"We would like to thank our collaborative partner, Sky Zone Guam," Blas said. "All the 'Join the Fight' vendors who participated in the community health fair – STEEL Athletics, Pay-Less Edu Kitchen, Pacific Islands Cohort on Cardiometabolic Health, Girl Scouts Guam, Gametime Inc., Healthy Fix, Mañelu, GDOE Head Start, The Giving Tree Children's Early Learning Center, Picasso Nenis, Guam Regional Medical City and Fundforte, for bringing this event to life."