Thursday, July 1, 2010

8th Annual Relay Celebrates Life, Rasies $150,000

By Tamara Best

Each person had a different story to tell. Each person recalled memories of loved
ones and in some cases their own struggle. Yet, each had one thing in common - the goal of eradicating cancer.

Despite being a humid Saturday with temperatures near 100 degrees, hundreds of people showed up at Juniper Valley Park for the eighth annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life. This year’s event was sponsored by Maspeth Federal Saving, Glendale Kiwanis, Panera Bread, Ridgewood Moose Lodge and
Wyckoff Heights Medical Center.

More than 60 teams participated in the Olympic-themed event this year, with team Hikers of Hope leading the fundraising with $14,000. In all more than $150,000 was raised for cancer research.

"We started participating four years ago, we look at it as a celebration," said CJ Stock of Rays of Light. The team was formed in honor of Stock's husband, Ray, who has
been in remission for the past four years.

Stock, among many other participants, said the survivor's lap is their favorite part of the relay, which started at 4 p.m. Saturday and ended Sunday morning.

"Each time I walk, each step I take is for each person who helped me get here," said Leandra Navetta, a survivor speaker for this year's event.

For Darren Alloggiamento there is one thought that goes through his head as he takes his lap.

"I feel lucky," said Alloggiamento, who had a brain tumor that has been in remission for 16 years.

After the survivor lap, caregivers took a lap followed by relay teams, backed by theme music ranging from Lady Gaga to James Brown. In addition to relaying, participants spent the evening enjoying food, taking zumba lessons and raising funds through raffles and sales. Shortly after dark, the luminaria ceremony took place as candles in bags that lined the track were lit, in memory of those who died from cancer and in honor of those in remission. Teams walked around the track pausing along the way to read the names.

The Middle Village site was also selected to be part of “The Cancer Prevention Study,” which allowed people who have not been diagnosed with cancer to identify reasons, such as lifestyle choices, that may cause them to be diagnosed with cancer later in life.

Leslie Orlovsky, director of special events for area American Cancer Society, said for everyone involved it’s about the Relay motto “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.”

“I’m not a doctor, this is the only way I know how to fight back,” said Orlovsky. “I relay so one day my son won’t have to.”

Relay for Life facts:
  • Takes place in more than 19 countries outside of the United States
  • More than $2 billion has been raised since the first relay was held in 1985.
  • Relay For Life is the world’s largest not-for- profit fundraising event.

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