About 100 ride on the yacht, Endeavor, Sunday to raise money for cancer research.
It was just 40 days ago that Martha Natividad lost her 5-year battle with stomach cancer.
But her loved ones were determined Sunday to not let their grief stand in the way of paying tribute to her life by joining the American Cancer Society’s second annual Cruise for a Cure.
“We’re a really big family who loves each other a lot,” said Monica Correa, 20, Natividad’s niece. “I want to make a difference so we can find a cure for cancer in my lifetime.”
The Cruise for a Cure event was aboard the 105-foot yacht, Endeavor. The cruise benefits the cancer society’s largest fundraiser, Relay for Life.
About 100 people of all ages — including about 40 of Natividad’s loved ones who traveled here from Downey — boarded American Yacht Charters’ largest boat for a three-hour tour of Newport Harbor where they mingled, listened to music, watched Polynesian dancing and opened their pocketbooks to give money to the organization. Although she didn’t have an official count, organizer Anna Lisa Biason said she believed they raised about $3,000 during the day’s events.
Correa orchestrated the family outing to raise money for research and awareness about the deadly disease. The group wore T-shirts labeling themselves “Martha’s Cheering Squad.”
“We’ve always been really close, and this has brought us closer,” said Ray Aguayo, Natividad’s brother.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in two women, and one in three men, will develop some type of cancer during their lifetime. The cruise is a way to set the table for Relay for Life.
“Last year I was thinking about fundraising for the event” and contacted Andrea Waite and Stuart Sitko, owners of the Endeavor, Biason said. “It’s a good way to get a lot of people together to learn about Relay for Life.”
Relay for Life events globally have raised over $1 billion.
“Relay for Life is the largest fundraising event in the world,” said Biason, who lives in Dana Point and is co-chair of the Newport Beach Relay for Life.
The Newport Beach Relay for Life event will take place over 24 hours May 20 and 21 at Newport Harbor High School.
Los Angeles radio station KIIS FM was on deck to provide music. The highlight of the afternoon was watching dancers from dance studio Mai Polynesia, which is dedicated to the art of Hawaiian, Polynesian and Samoan dancing, perform on the yacht’s second deck.
“It’s probably one of the best causes,” said studio owner and Costa Mesa resident Mailani Monteiro. “Almost everyone has been affected by cancers, so it hits close to home.”
While some were intently watching the entertainment or feasting on salad, pasta and desserts, others were bidding on silent auction items donated by local businesses. One sponsor of the event was Beverly Hills jewelry store, Verrago, which had two display cases full of glittering bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings for sale with 15% of the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. As the boat was approaching its dock and the day was coming to an end, Robert Horlick, co-owner of the store, began selling the jewels at an 80% discount, prompting throngs of guests to ogle the handmade creations.
“I lost my dad to cancer, so this is pretty important,” Horlick said.
New friends were made, business prospects were discussed and fun times were had by those on the boat, including co-workers of the Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery who came for a chance to sit in the sun and enjoy each other’s company while donating time and services to Cruise for a Cure.
“We really talk to women about their health — breast self-examinations and the dangers of smoking and tanning — we’re very focused on women taking care of themselves,” said Angela Segal, the director of new patient development for the Huntington and Newport Beach office.
Larry Nichter, a surgeon at the Pacific Center, said one out of seven women in Orange County will get breast cancer during their lives. Nichter took home more than one silent auction item to show his support.
As the donors got off the boat, Biason said she was happy more people knew about the Relay for Life event, which was one of the day’s goals.
Getting ready for the boat’s next event, Waite said she was happy that people were showing up and hoped next year she’ll get to host an even larger crowd. She enjoys giving back to the community when she can.
“You get what you give,” she said. “It makes smart business sense to give back to the community; we’re all in this together.”