Saturday marks Mar Vista’s first community-wide Relay for Life, a 12-hour American Cancer Society fundraising party and walkathon at the baseball fields near the Mar Vista Recreation Center.

Hosted by the Mar Vista Community Council, the upbeat event honors former L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and will lead other cancer survivors in a special “Survivors Lap” to begin the walkathon.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin, who took over for Rosendahl, are expected to deliver opening remarks.

Bonin, who was Rosendahl’s chief of staff before becoming his council successor, has been profoundly impacted by cancer.

“Cancer has been an unfortunate through-line for my life over the past several years. One of my best childhood friends died of a rare form of cancer about six years ago, my younger sister Maureen died of a cancer almost four years ago, and then shortly after Maureen passed I was Bill’s chief of staff when he was diagnosed,” said Bonin, who is co-sponsoring the event with Councilman Paul Koretz.

“I’ve tried to focus as much as I can on cancer issues,” Bonin continued. “One thing I’ve learned is how almost everyone has been touched in a deep and profound way by cancer. I’ve seen what a powerful and brutal and unforgivingly monstrous disease it can be … but you also get to see how tough and strong and brave people are … [and] neighbors come out of the woodwork to be supportive.”

In addition to a team walkathon, Mar Vista’s Relay for Life event will also feature food, several live bands and games such as an egg hunt, frozen T-shirt contest and a pickup dodgeball game. A wellness corner features healthy living activities that include yoga, meditation, massage, diet, exercise, herbal medicine and aromatherapy instruction.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 11430 Woodbine St. To register or sponsor a team, visit

— Joe Piasecki