Victor Valley residents are about to get a triple chance to help out local causes at the Hesperia Recreation and Park District's "Cars, Cures and Kids" 5th annual event on Saturday and Sunday at Civic Plaza Park, 15833 Smoke Tree St.


Beginning Saturday morning, Relay for Life, the Apple Valley-based Over the Hill Gang classic car club and No Drugs America will sponsor fundraisers the entire family can take part in and enjoy.


"This event sprung out of the Relay for Life event that started in Hesperia in 1997," said Don Webb, recreation supervisor for the Hesperia Recreation and Park District. "It got bigger and bigger over the years and it began to seem like a good idea to put several groups together in one big event to raise money for good causes."


Relay for Life is a worldwide organization that unites communities for the purpose of raising money to fund cancer research. The money it raises also is used for promoting education about prevention and early detection of the disease.


During Relay for Life's events, teams of three to 24 people camp out overnight in tents. They take turns walking for a 24-hour period around a track or path at a local park, high school or fairground.


Funds are raised prior to the relay by team members, who hold bakes sales, car washes, yard sales and other community activities. Individual participants also can raise funds by soliciting donations from friends and family members.


"Every single penny we raise helps more than you can imagine," said Danielle Polliard, a relay specialist for Relay for Life. "And the money not only helps fund cancer research but also other things like education, advocacy, counseling services and support groups.


"We also have programs that help women look good and feel better when they are going through treatment by teaching them beauty techniques about makeup and hair care."


The "Cars, Cures and Kids" Relay for Life walk will begin on Saturday with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. At 10:30 a.m., cancer survivors and their care givers will take the first walk around the track, followed by the relay teams at 11 a.m. At 9 p.m., there will be a luminaria ceremony in remembrance of cancer victims. The relay will conclude on Sunday with a closing ceremony at 9:30 a.m. and a final lap around the track at 10 a.m.


Survivor/caregiver registration opens at 8 a.m. Saturday followed by a breakfast for that group of participants at 8:30 a.m.


"The relay teams from Relay for Life have put in thousands of hours to make our 'Cars, Cures and Kids' event possible," Webb said.


Lonnie Hyde, president of the Over the Hill Gang, said his organization also has invested a lot of hours in "Cars, Cures and Kids" since its inception. The non-profit club has raised thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society, primarily through show entry fees. For $15, classic car owners (1975 and older) can place their vehicle on display for public viewing and also for a chance to win a trophy.


Other than a car's age, there are no specific restrictions about the type it must be in order to participate in the show, according to Hyde. However, when it comes to condition, the cars must meet certain criteria.


"Basically, anyone who has a car they put some time and effort into restoring qualifies," said Hyde. "Also, we accept cars in their original condition that have been very well taken care of."


Rounding out the lineup of organizations at "Cars, Cures and Kids" will be No Drugs America. The non-profit organization was founded in 2000 by High Desert resident Frank Kelly. Its mission is to promote awareness about the dangers of illegal drug use, particularly by youngsters.


Kelly will be on hand at "Cars, Cures & Kids" to distribute information promotinghis cause. In addition, San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos will be a guest speaker, Kelly said.


"We want to encourage all parents to talk to their kids about staying away from drugs and drinking," said Kelly. "Our message, 'Say it loud, I need no drugs,' has gone a long way in helping to stop drug use before it starts."


For more information about "Cars, Cures and Kids," visit www.hesperiaparks.com. To pre-register for Relay for Life, log on to www.relayforlife.org/hesperiaca.