Our city parks are a valuable community resource and Hesperia Recreation and Park District hopes to accentuate that point with its upcoming “Cars & Cures 2016.” The annual event, which is themed “Parks Make Life Better,” will begin at 10 a.m. April 16 at Civic Plaza Park, 15533 Smoke Tree St.

It will feature a number of family friendly activities sponsored by Relay for Life and the Apple Valley-based Over the Hill Gang classic car club.

Relay for Life is an international organization that raises money for cancer research and education through community activities and programs.

Its annual relays feature teams of three to 24 people who 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, carwashes, 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, senior relay manager 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 2016” Relay for Life walk is set to kick off with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. It will be followed by a procession of cancer survivors and their caregivers around the track. The relay teams will begin walking at 11 a.m. and continue throughout the day.

At 9 p.m., there will be a luminaria ceremony to remember those who have lost their lives to cancer. At 9:30 p.m., participants will take a final lap around the track.

Along with Relay for Life, the Apple Valley-based car club Over the Hill Gang will host a classic car show. Lonnie Hyde, president of the Over the Hill Gang, said his organization has been a big part of “Cars & Cures” for the past seven years and has raised thousands of dollars for cancer research, primarily through show entry fees.

For a $15 registration fee, classic car or specialty vehicle owners (including motorcycles) can place them on display for public viewing and also for a chance to win one of 19 trophies, Hyde said. Winners will be chosen by Hesperia’s mayor Bill Holland, as well as by representatives from Hesperia Recreation and Park District and Relay for Life.

“All of the money we raise at this event will be used to fund our big, annual car show in October,” said Hyde. “Most of the funds we raise at ‘Cars and Cures’ will be donated for cancer research.

“The rest is donated to our local Meals on Wheels group at Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Hyde said cars entered into the show at “Cars & Cures 2016” must be in running condition. Other than that, there are no restrictions.

“Our car club continues to work to spread the word about ‘Cars and Cures’ because we feel people need to know how local organizations are benefitting the public, especially people with cancer,” said Hyde. “There may one day be a breathtaking cancer cure and we’d like to think we can play even a small part in making that a possibility.”

For more information about “Cars & Cures 2016,” visit www.hesperiaparks.com. To pre-register for Relay for Life, log on to www.relayforlife.org/hesperiaca.