Celebration of Champions honors children with cancer, raises money for Rady Children's Hospital

SAN DIEGO - Hundreds turned out for the 19th annual Celebration of Champions event at the Embarcadero Marina Park North to honor children with cancer.

More than 300 children who are currently fighting cancer or have survived cancer took part in "Torch of Life" relay on Saturday. Each child ran, walked or was carried one-eighth of a mile while holding the "torch of life" before passing the torch along to another child. They were accompanied by a family member, sponsor and a celebrity.

A balloon ceremony was also held to remember those who have passed on.

Bob Thomas, who was at Saturday's event, says his daughter Megan lost her battle with cancer and a brain stem tumor just two weeks before her 30th birthday.

"We attended the Celebration of Champions and I've encouraged her for the last 15 years," he said. "Now, I'm going to be walking with my family in memorial for Megan … and releasing a balloon in her memory."  

The Gonzalez family from Mexico was there to celebrate the end of 27 months of treatment for their young daughter Alejandra.

"She's a champion," her mother said.

The family says Alejandra is doing great, and that they are looking forward to the event in the coming years.

Funds raised from the event benefit the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children's Hospital.

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