Linda Potts, center with white cap, poses for a photo at this year's Relay for Life at Mountain Pointe High School with a fundraising team.

Submitted photo

For the past 10 years Ahwatukee Relay for Life has benefited the American Cancer Society by generating more than $1 million in fundraising.

However, for the next Relay for Life at Mountain Pointe High School in April, committee leaders plan to switch their route on who will be asked to help during the event.

In previous years, Relay for Life centered on assistants from students and faculty members from both Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista high schools, but decided to display their “help wanted” sign for the entire community of Ahwatukee.

Nick Keeslar, event co-chairman, said throughout the years both Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista have done a tremendous job with fundraising for the event and feels the entire Ahwatukee community can add to their success.

“We have such a powerful community in Ahwatukee and it doesn’t really make sense to stop at the youths for raising money. We should be asking the entire community to help raise money for the event,” Keeslar said. “If our youths can raise upwards to $120,000-$150,000 in a given year… what’s not to say when we involve the entire community with this event we can raise $200,000?”

By getting the community involved with Ahwatukee Relay for Life, Keeslar said there will be a ribbon-cutting event with the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 14, which is a way to raise community awareness.

Another change in the Ahwatukee Relay for Life consists of a silent auction/survivor dinner event.

Keeslar, now entering his sixth year being part of Ahwatukee Relay for Life, said typically during the event they host a survivor dinner honoring cancer survivors in the Ahwatukee area, but decided to make the dinner an upscale fundraiser.

The dinner will take place Feb. 28 at the Ocotillo Golf Resort, 3751 S. Clubhouse Drive, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with cost of attendance ranging from $100 per person to $150 for couples.

Keeslar said they’re looking for Ahwatukee cancer survivors who have not been previously involved with the event, and plan to honor each survivor during the dinner.

“The community is also called to sign up a team and participate in the event to celebrate those who they have lost,” he said.

Keeslar added himself and committee members are looking forward to using the entire power of the community to bring extra awareness to the cause and raise more funds than in previous years.

He truly believes with these new changes and additions to the relay, Ahwatukee can make this the largest relay in the state of Arizona.

For additional information on how to get involved with the Ahwatukee Relay for Life, visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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