On April 28, 32 members of the Torrance Memorial Medical Center staff participated in Torrance's annual Relay for Life, an overnight relay event hosted by the American Cancer Society to raise money for cancer research. The team was given a Jade sponsor level, moving up from last year's Platinum Sponsor Level, after raising $10,125.
Headed by Mari David, recently retired director of Torrance Memorial's Polak Breast Diagnostic Center, the hospital started forming a relay team back in 2009. Members are committed to work and support the success of the team. "It takes a concerted and group effort to accomplish all of our goals for the relay, and everyone has an important role to play," says team member Jacqueline Hemmah, clerical supervisor of the Torrance Memorial Breast Diagnostic Center.
This team effort started months in advance and went beyond those who just chose to walk or run the day of the race. Most staff members at the Torrance Memorial Polak Breast Diagnostic Center participated in some way, giving everything from monetary contributions to sewing a breast cancer ribbon blanket to be sold during a fundraiser.
On the day of the relay, the race started at 9 a.m. But several team members were there by 7 a.m. for set-up and worked until after 9:30 p.m. to clean up. In addition, each of the team members walked around the track for 30 minutes to one hour, for a total of 24 hours.
At the event, Torrance Memorial Medical Center hosted a booth that raised more than $2,350 from selling handmade jewelry, hand-painted luminaria glasses, HOPE T-shirts, greeting cards, baked goods, hot dogs, tamales and drinks, as well as movie ticket baskets and other items.
The Torrance Memorial team was dedicated in the memory of Richard Hoffman, MD, a highly respected member of the Torrance Memorial medical staff who was diagnosed with acute leukemia. "We dedicated the team in Dr. Hoffman's memory, because he was instrumental in the growth of the
Radiology Department of Torrance Memorial, and he was a pioneer who found innovative ways to advance radiology services to the community. He truly made a difference in his lifetime," says Hemmah. Dr. Hoffman's daughter,
Heidi Hoffman, MD, spoke at the day's Luminaria ceremony, and his wife and son attended as well.
Why do so many staff members join the team? It's personal. "The relay is close to my heart because I have had three loved ones who have battled cancer in the last six years," says Hemmah. "No one is immune to cancer. It can turn our lives upside down in an instant, so each of us should partake in any effort to fight this battle and give everyone a better chance for survival."