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Thousands raise funds for research during 30th annual Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer

Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer

MILWAUKEE -- The 30th annual Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer kicked off just outside the Summerfest grounds Saturday, July 22nd. Named after the legendary Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi, the event seeks to help tackle cancer in our community.

"I'm a cancer survivor, it will be three years in December. Two and-a-half-years today," said Luis Ayala, cancer survivor.

Luis Ayala

When Luis Ayala was diagnosed with stomach cancer, he said it felt isolating at moments. But fundraisers and community events like the Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer helped show him he's not alone.

"It feels great because this is a great organization and it's a way to give back. Not only to give back, but to come together as a family, as a team," said Ayala.

More than 2,000 runners and walkers participated in the run-walk, raising funds to support cancer research for Aurora Cancer Care.

Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer

Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer

"The sport I played, football, is the ultimate team sport. And cancer, it takes a team. Whether it's the medical staff, whether it's a family member, or whether it's a friend, just letting you know that I'm concerned and I'm here to support you," said former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle and event chairperson, Santana Dotson.

In addition to the run-walk, survivors are also leaving ribbons behind. Each ribbon color signifies a different type of cancer and written on each ribbon is a message to a loved one who's no longer with them.

Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer

Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer

"Local is very important for us, for the dollars to stay here. One in four cancer patients are diagnosed at Aurora Cancer Care," said Erin Hareng, Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer.

Lining up to begin the walk, Team Ayala banged on their drums and reminded those they stand with that they are not alone.

"Recognition to all of those who are in the fight, who didn`t make the fight, and a big shout out to my Team Ayala," said the group. "Team Ayala make some noise!"

Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer