The 2011 Relay for Life of Ahwatukee Foothills was recognized recently by the America Cancer Society. The event, organized and run by mostly students, was named the second largest youth-based high school Relay for Life in the country.

This year the event was hosted by Desert Vista High School and raised $145,000 for cancer research.

They averaged roughly $130 per runner, which won them the second-place award. In Arizona, the local event is the only high school-run event in the state and is also one of the top-10 largest.

"We wish we had that same support that we get in Ahwatukee Foothills at other high schools," said Michelle Broek, community relationship manager for the American Cancer Society. "Their event is definitely highly regarded in the larger Relay network in Arizona. It's really great to think how they get so many people involved."

The Relay for Life took place this year on April 16 and involved teams from all over, including Mountain Pointe High School, walking or running around the track at DV for hours on end.

It has become a staple of the community and one that fits into high school life.

"It is a unique event here because as soon as they start as freshmen, the Relay is part of your high school experience," Broek said. "It's kind of understood you won't have a good time if you don't participate in the Relay."

The student council, who helped organize the Relay, will receive a banner and certificate from the American Cancer Society.

"The kids are just so amazing and they deserve all the recognition in the world," said Mark Honaker, DV ceramics teacher who is heavily involved with Relay. "It was a real honor for us to work with the American Cancer Society and be able to raise that amount of money."

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